Opinion: Traditional Final Exams Are Impractical
With increasingly negative stigma surrounding the final exam period, it’s time to bid farewell to traditional final exams.
by Molly Koch
This story was originally published on New York University’s Washington Square News.
As I said goodbye to my mother at the train station, heading back to New York City after a cozy Thanksgiving break, I remembered the intense stress that shows up right around finals season. As a first-year student, I had heard about how overwhelming this time of year can get — but I never knew it could be this bad.
Final exams are meant to demonstrate a student’s academic development and ability to recall material covered in class. These timed tests, however, are an excessive source of worry because they have such a significant impact on grades, and there is little time between finishing all the material and the exam date. At this point, traditional final exams are ineffective and pointless.
For one, a student’s capacity to quickly and efficiently memorize a large amount of content is a major factor in how well they perform on a final exam. The problem with making memory the foundation of success is that students don’t actually learn anything in class. Cognitive scientists Daniel Willingham and Robert Bjork made this observation after testing college students to see how much information they could recall two weeks after the test. The study concluded that over 90% of the material had been forgotten by the students after two weeks.
Read the rest of the story at Washington Square News.