I do not give finals. I do give students an opportunity to show me how they have improved in the course. They show that the formative assessment done on their work leads to greater achievement.
For example, in my English Composition and Research college course, students select two essays that they have written and received three formative feedback on, identify how they will make the improvements on an essay improvement sheet, and make the improvements in the essay. As an illustration, students receive three formative feedback on their essays that focus on the most critical areas for improvement such as their lack of details to prove the essay. They either receive an example or are referred to some examples. On their essay improvement sheet, they copy the suggestions for change and then they show how they will change their previous sentences to include detailed examples. They make these revisions to their paper. When they hand in their “final” essays, they highlight in green all the changes that they made from the previous version. They get graded on their formative improvements based on the previous essay. Their “final” essay grade replaces their original essay grade.
Such a “formative assessment final” drastically changes the usual concept of a final.
So what type final do you give?
My book, Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.
My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.