We are within a few weeks of finals. Some good questions to ask are What is a final? What learning do we want the students to show on the final?
A history teacher tells his students that the final is on Chapters 1-15 and all they have to do is know that information. Obviously, the students become overwhelmed because they do not know what is really important in the chapters. They do not know the format of the final – multiple guess or essay writing? They have no idea of how to study for the final.
Teachers give paper and pencil finals, scantron finals or online computer scored.
Let’s look at some possible types of written final (not project based):
– Wikipedia defines a final as a big unit test. The final covers the same material that has been previously covered and in the same way but covers more of it in one exam. An American History final is just parts of previous tests; instead of 50 questions, the students have 200 questions.
– Some teachers give a put-it-all-together test in which students have to integrate what they have learned during the course. For example, an 8th grade Science final involves students reading and critiquing an experiment on the health of a local stream. They have covered everything previously in individual sections such as the biological or physical aspects but they have not had to go to the big picture of the whole stream.
– Some teachers create a final that consists of the final improvement on previous work. For example, students have revised a Contrast essay previously in English class and they do a final revision as their final.
– Some teaches create a final that goes far beyond what the students have learned in class. The final includes brand-new material such as many vocabulary words the students have never seen and it may ask them to do tasks that they have never done before in class. For example, in class students have only answered literal questions on reading passages but the final has mostly inference reading questions. The final generally does not test the regular forms but focuses on all the irregular forms or exceptions. Only the A+++ students might pass this final.
Some questions about a final:
Do the students know what precise learning goals will be on the final? Do they know which learning goals are the most important for success in the final?
Do they know how these learning goals will be tested such as multiple guess or try to fill in the blank?
Does the final reflect the same level of learning as done during the course?
Do the students have a sample final that mimics the final both in content and format? Do they have an online practice that explains the wrong answers?
Is the final an opportunity for the students to show how much they have learned?
What type final do you give?
I have 20 Spanish spontaneous speaking activities at Teacherspayteachers: http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle
My formative assessment books: http://is.gd/tbook