Good Friday everyone! Unfortunately, our scheduled post for this week had to be pushed back for publication at a later date this fall. Since many of us are approaching mid-semester (already!), I thought it prudent to post some ideas from the archive on final exams. It is not too late to rethink your strategies!
In Three Alternatives for the Final Exam, Michelle Wirt suggests three alternate assignments that can be used in lieu of or in combination with final exams. She outlines how students can create an exhibition catalog, a spoof or remake of an artwork, and a travel brochure.
Mary Zawadzki, in her promotion of RTTP (Reacting to the Past) as a replacement for the traditional final exam format, introduces the idea that exams and traditional assignments like research papers only prove that students know how to memorize, guess, and do the minimum for their desired grade. She asks “What if pedagogy and assessments worked in tandem to teach the subject matter, develop those skills that students will need for academic and work-related success, and accurately assess what our students learned in our class?”
In her “Re-teach-a-thon”, Eleanor Moseman writes that while collectively brainstorming with her students a creative alternative to a traditional final, she noticed a palpable excited buzz of interest sweep through the room. By giving students agency agency in participating in the design of tests and emphasizing that it is a privilege as well as a great responsibility for them to contribute to composing their exams, she noticed a significant increase in student satisfaction without having to lower standards or reduce the depth and breadth of course content.