[KACT] Re: Finals

  • From: "David R. Stinemetze" <dstine@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: kact@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 23 Dec 2005 13:18:13 -0600

Kelly Deters wrote:

For some reasons, none of my posts have gone through
since Tues, although other people's have...I'm working
on that with "freelists.org"  In the meantime, I'm
sending my posts from another account...please excuse
the "multiple posts" if my original ones magical
appear in the future!



In the last day and a half, I'm discovering more about
why my students do so poorly on finals in my class. I
have yet to hear of another teacher giving a "real"
final besides me and one of the biology teachers. These are the comments I've heard so far:
"My teacher gave us the questions in class ahead of
time during the review" (I guess they went through
them verbally). "My final was opinion questions" "My final was reflection questions" "That was the most pointless, waste of a time it was
so easy" And I won't even go into the finals in classes such as
"aerobics" or "weight lifting" Combine this idea of other classes not giving "real"
finals that test the students with our waiver policy,
the fact that we don't have +/- grades and with the
fact that the weighting is so low that it doesn't
"affect" many people (I've had a final change 2
students' grades so far out of about 50)...it's no
wonder my kids walk in and flunk it and don't care!
Now the question is...do I keep "fighting" it and
giving them finals that they flunk...or do I give in
as the others have and give "fluff" finals to satisfy
our principal that requires that a final be given in
each class?
Kelly





I'm forwarding to the list because it's an interesting point to consider--the trickle-down-effect.

I personally never had "comprehensive" finals in
college...but I went to a complete block plan school
where "comprehensive" covered 3.5 weeks--and most
classes were so crammed for time that they didn't take
time to take a "last test" and then a separate
"comprehensive" final as well.  Many classes did have
a final project--writing in some classes, lab
practicals in many science classes, etc.  In Grad
School, I never had a comprehensive final
either...usually we had a cumulative project (such as
a curriculum to develop) that we presented at the end.

My mom is a prof at Univ of Central Florida and this
semester she gave her students a choice of having a
last test or a comprehensive final...she had students
that chose both and so she gave both...I haven't asked
her yet which benefited students more gradewise.

Kelly


-----Original Message-----
From: Terry Tinich [mailto:tinicht@xxxxxxxxxx]
Sent: Mon 12/19/2005 3:39 PM
To: Deters, Kelly
Cc:
Subject: reply
I don't know if you got my first letter. Just
wondering -- ask your past students how many of them actually take "finals".
I've done it for years (finals) but more and more, both from larger
universities to smaller private colleges, finals are nothing more than
another test and are not comprehensive. Our high school kids are
getting wind of this and this is their argument -- along with the 10-15%
grade which, I agree, only affects a few of them. Plus the empathy
of "heck, an 81- 87, they are both still B's"!! Glad to hear we all
have the same problem -- now we just need a solution.
Terry Tinich
Pomona High





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Kelly,

I give a comprehensive final examination over the entire semester's work. The one in May covers the entire year. This semester it consisted of 30 completion, 30 multiple choice, 10 matching, 10 elemental symbols, 5 equations to balance, and 5 lab practical questions (equipment ID, measurement, and recognition of chemical reactions), for a total of 90, during a 95 minute period. All computational questions were written in multiple choice format, but the student had to show his/her work to get credit. Also, I gave partial credit where I thought it was justified. I don't want even the best of my students to take an "A" on their final for granted, so I always write it so that few, if any, students will get a perfect score, this year no one did, and always expect to curve it.

In Ark City, it is Board policy that we give a comprehensive final and it can count anything up to 25 % of the grade. I count mine 20 %. Most teachers in my school count it 10-20 %. Our principal requires that finals be submitted to the office a few days prior to the exam date and she has been known to bounce them back to teachers for revision if she doesn't think they are challenging enough. Also, she requires that we submit a photocopy of a student's paper just to ensure that everybody gives the final she approved. Some of my colleagues don't like that policy, but it's realistic about human nature and gets around some of the issues you mentioned. Not all of them, however; the band still plays during finals!!!!

David R. Stinemetze

P.S. I am looking forward to the February 11, conference. I would like to present some ideas on teaching the mole concept, if there is time on the schedule. May I bring a teacher-in-training?
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