With the end of the term approaching, instead of relaxing and enjoying the warm weather many students stress over the imminent looming cloud of darkness, the end of term exams commonly known as finals. Many students experience heavy anxiety and experience symptoms akin to sleep terrors due to these exams and the pressure they bring with them.
Many teens experience weeks of sleep deprivation and suffer an almost immediate sleep crash after final exams are completed causing hallucinations, memory impairment, and even heart failure. With their being one final exam for each subject with each exam scheduled right after the other, this can result in a mountain of near insurmountable work which intimidates and even traumatizes some students.
Semester exams often account for 20 percent of a student’s grade, with some schools even going to 40 percent. As you can see, final exams really can make or break a student’s grade, only adding onto the pressure that a student already faces. Also, what if a student was having a rough day to fatigue and exhaustion? Is it reasonable to give an A student a B for a mere 3 hours of less than adequate work? In any case, finals result in periods of stress and trauma causing lasting impacts on students.
Ultimately a series of shorter, more spread out tests or presentations would be more effective shown by Harvard University. During the summer of 2016, only 259 out of the 1137 undergraduate courses reported a final 3 hour examination, with only 14 of the more than 500 graduate level courses reporting final examinations. Many professors cited that especially in the subjective courses such as the humanities or the classics, a final examination was ultimately illogical to grade a students work and that a professor after examining the student for an entire semester had more than enough information to properly assess a student.
This trend also applied to my own high school, Villa Madonna Academy in Kentucky. My mathematics teacher Miss Lawson claimed that “each chapter builds on the preceding chapters foundations, and that a final exam displays the student’s ability to make those connections”. My history teacher Mr.Henson however claimed “cumulative testing is not an effective approach however it does provide students an opportunity to improve their grades, and for some students that could mean passing the course”. So, we can slightly see a trend from teachers of the sciences and mathematics preferring these cumulative exams while teachers of the humanities and histories preferring other assessment methods.
But which method is more effective, or is it dependent on what subject is being tested? Regardless, final exams are heavily taxing and by pursuing different methods of assessment would definitely benefit the mental and physical welfare of our students.