[KACT] FW: Re: Finals & Students

  • From: "Stockam, Angela" <adiskin@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <kact@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, <kact-officers@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 4 Jan 2006 14:16:15 -0600

Angela Stockam
Chemistry Instructor
USD 266 Maize High School
11600 W. 45th St. N.
Maize, Kansas 67101
316.722.0441 ext. 2253


From: Stockam, Angela 
Sent: Wednesday, January 04, 2006 2:09 PM
To: 'kact@xxxxxxxxxxxxx'
Subject: RE: [KACT] Re: Finals & Students

At Maize, all the Chem I students take a 57 question multiple choice
final.  In addition to that, they all take part in a 5 day long
Qualitative Analysis Lab Final for analytical groups I, IV, and V.   In
my class, those two tests (the written and the lab final) account for
about 20% of their term 2 grade.  Combined, they can make or break a
student's grade.   I haven't really heard many complaints about having
to take the finals.  In fact, the lab final is pretty much a rite of
passage here and has developed quite a reputation.  Students are usually
frightened to death because of the "horror stories" the former chem
students share with them but when it is all said and done their journals
usually provide some pretty touching revelations.  Ultimately, I think
it is very valuable for most of them and I think they would agree!
Our biggest problem here is timing.  We are on Block 4 and our semester
doesn't end until January 13.  We had a 2 week break for Christmas and 9
days left in the semester when we returned.  The lab final takes up 5
days with 4 days left for finishing material, reviewing and checking in
lab drawers.  
Angela Stockam
Chemistry Instructor
USD 266 Maize High School
11600 W. 45th St. N.
Maize, Kansas 67101
316.722.0441 ext. 2253


From: kact-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:kact-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On
Behalf Of Cline, Brad
Sent: Monday, December 19, 2005 2:31 PM
To: kact@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [KACT] Re: Finals & Students

I give a 46 question multiple choice test in advanced Chem II, and in my
Physics class.  The Chem I final has more questions (not as much
mathematical problem solving as the former two) and is also multiple
choice.  I have seen the same thing as Kelly.  The students are doing
very poorly on the finals.  I just got the results tabulated from my 4th
Hour Physics and the class average on the final was 69%.   The class
average for all the unit exams for this semester is an 84%.  Why the
huge fall off?   The final, in many ways, is easier than any of the unit
exams.  I've seen similar outcomes in my Chemistry classes as well.  I'm
really not sure what to make of it, but it is frustrating.


We have also has a huge number of students protesting that if they got a
good grade for the semester thus far, they should get a exemption from
the final exam.  In other words they shouldn't have to retain any
information for the semester nor should they have to review the
material.  I'm not sure where this idea got started in our school, but
it has become a greater issue each year.  The staff was surveyed and
only a slight majority 54% wanted to make all students take finals.  The
slight minority wanted to do away with finals altogether or give the
exemption for A students. 


I weigh the finals as 15%... maybe I need to make it worth more... how
do others weigh the final?





Scientia non habet inimicum nisp ignorantem.


Bradley L Cline

Chemistry I, Chemistry II, Physics Instructor

Goddard High School

2500 S 199th St West

PO Box 189

Goddard, KS  67052-0189



-----Original Message-----
From: kact-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:kact-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On
Behalf Of Deters, Kelly
Sent: Monday, December 19, 2005 11:01 AM
To: KACT (E-mail)
Subject: [KACT] Finals & Students


I was just curious, what do others give as their "final"? 

I used to give 75 MC questions (the only time I do MC) and let them use
a notecard. 
Now I give half that many questions and they use the front side of a
piece of paper. 

I've found my students less and less able to perform well on finals,
even though their performance and effort throughout the course hasn't
had the same problem (especially the last two years when I redesigned my
course--now their effort and interest is greater than in the past).

I also used to give them 2-3 days in class to prepare for it, but over
the years they did less preparing and more wasting time...now I just
give 1 day and even that gets wasted!

Anyone else have the same problem with finals?  I know it's that time of
year...but it seems to be getting worse over the years! :)


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