Midterms and papers are helpful, but are we missing out?
With spring break come and gone, the rest of the semester is bound to fly. Finals will be here before we know it, along with the stress often accompanied with it.
However, despite the collective campus sigh at the mention of finals, should we really be complaining?
This year, I can honestly say that I do not have a single final during finals week. Many teachers are opting out of giving finals during the designated week and assigning tests on the last day of regular-scheduled class.
Moreover, teachers are not giving cumulative finals it seems. Over the course of my time at MSU, I have not had a class that had only one test during the semester.
Think about it. There used to be a time when students were graded on their work for an entire semester based on a single test. A whole semester’s work and concepts were crammed into one glorious final. From there, it was up to what your brain remembered and how good you were at taking tests.
Yet somehow we complain about the end of the semester when we should really be thankful for this change of test giving. Many teachers have at least three tests given throughout the semester, each pertaining to a set of chapters, making cumulative tests seem like a thing of the past.
With the little bit of give in the test-taking department, we lost a little something in the process. Compared to the days when finals were the whole ballgame, students have significantly more assignments. Participation and attendance points are a thing, and papers are to be expected.
Personally, I am happy that I am able to attend college during this time. Regular assignments and tests encourage more participation and learning throughout the semester and provide frequent checks, whereas a single final would leave me wondering how I was doing with my learning.
Yet I do not insist that a single final did not hold its own charm. There has to be something deeply rewarding about studying an entire semester for a single event and receiving a good grade.
Quite frankly, I can’t imagine students today taking three months to devote themselves for a single test. People today want instant feedback, instant knowledge, and instant education. As society has changed and morphed, the educational system has gone with it. Is this necessarily a good thing? I’ll leave that decision to you.
So this coming finals week, before you complain about your final in a class that has had a midterm, papers, and attendance points, remember the time where there was an end-all final and count your lucky stars you live in the 21 century education system.
Photo: “Exam (CC BY 2.0) by albertogp123