Final test or Improved Learning?

Final or Formative Final

A student questioned the final in one of my courses. He said that he had self-assessed his work, he had made changes, I had assessed it, and he had made more changes, and now he was handing it in as the final. He was confident that he had done a good job; he really had done a great job. He questioned how it was a final if he knew what he was to do and if he and I had helped him to do a good job. He felt that those two things went against all he knew about finals. He never knew a final where he was allowed to improve and improve. He only knew of finals where he took finals where he guessed what was on the finals and then he received a grade. He also admitted this final was harder since he knew what he had to do, he could not fake it, and he knew that he had to show growth each time an assessment was done.

So what type final do you give?

6 Responses to “Final test or Improved Learning?”

  1. 1 Steve Rosenbaum December 2, 2007 at 1:06 am

    I’ve given a few finals where I told students what the test questions were on the first day. There were broad questions that required a lot of work and thinking to answer completely. I don’t remember the actual questions but it might have been something as simple as “the plight of man” explain.

  2. 2 hgtuttle December 2, 2007 at 4:29 pm

    Giving the students the essay test questions in the first day of the unit is a great start. I think that to be formative we have to help them to do better so either we need to give them specific feedback or they get specific standards-based feedback from peers or themselves. Our goal is for them to be successful.

  3. 3 Steve Rosenbaum December 2, 2007 at 5:29 pm

    I work in the corporate world and here’s a little something interesting about tests. (I don’t know the application to schools, but it’s interesting).

    It’s very common to see a disconnect between test scores and actual on the job performance. We often see people who do well on the tests that have difficulting on the job and vice-versa. So then I ask the question to the first line supervisors and managers, if you were to observe these people on the job could you tell if they’ve “got it.” Almost to a person, they’ll tell me they would know if 5 minutes.

    So I’ll say, why don’t we make that the test?

    As a result, we’ve replaced a lot of testing which is really a level 2 evaluation with a more structured evaluation which is a level 3 evaluation.

    We have a little different way of getting at level 4. We focus on measuring time to proficiency and the benefits of cutting that time. In the busines world it’s really significant.

    I think time to proficiency would be a great measure in schools. I think you could easily reducing k-12 to k-10 for at least 50% of the students. That’s a lot of extra money that could be freed up for other things. It would just require a little different funding mechanism than “butts in the seats.”

    If you want to see how we’ve done this in the business world, you can go to my blog at or my website

  4. 4 hgtuttle December 3, 2007 at 3:27 pm

    Authentic Education has been a movement in education for years where students do real-life complex tasks. Students are not graded on knowing how to do a survey but how the analysis of their actual survey translates into a real action or change. Authentic Education believes that doing the task is the test. Technology can play a critical role in these real world tasks. Unfortunately, state tests do not value interdisciplinary higher level real-world tasks.

  5. 5 Steve Rosenbaum December 3, 2007 at 9:55 pm

    My experience is that education is designed for the convenience of the instructor. Multiple choice topic specific tests are easy to write, administer and colate. I’m familiar with authentic education and it does a lot of things well, it’s just not the way things have always been done.

    In a corporate world, we’re more likely to do what works or what’s most cost effective rather than what doesn’t create waves. I heard Fred Smith founder of Fedex take about this same subject. He stated that government is so risk adverse that it can’t adapt and change as it needs to.

  1. 1 Final In the Course What is it really? « Education with Technology Harry G. Tuttle Trackback on May 1, 2012 at 12:26 pm

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