I think that students shouldn't have to take final exams if they did all their work in class, passed most of the test and did what they had to do they shouldn't have to. But the other kids they should be punished by taking the midterm, mainly because they didnt't do what they were suppose to do, and every bad choice you make, isn't there always a consequence?
Students who have earned an "A" in a course have already proved they mastered a subject. I would like to see an exit paper or project for students who have mastered a subject instead of an exam. If one has mastered a subject, an objective exam only measures recall and if a question is worded well maybe analysis.
An exit essay or some type of project which calls for synthesis or evaluation would serve students who have mastered a course better. This type of assessment would challenge students.
I do not think that midterms or finals are a way to punish students. Students are expected to study and get good grades. If they do this then midterms and finals should not be that hard. The purpose of midterms and finals is to see if the student has prepared themselves throughout the entire year. So if a student has done what they were supposed to, finals should not be incredibly difficult.
Final tests are important, because they show what students have learned. In my class students know they have a final test. They prepare by studying the material. It gives them a reason to study the material again. The more they review the key terms the more likely they will remember it forever.
Final exams also give students a reason to do daily work. By doing daily work they are practicing the skills they need to learn. Final exams show the skills students have gained through the class. It's also a great way to assess where students may be struggling (comprehension, vocabulary, etc.)
Exams are a way of examining the total content over a longer period of time. It may be a high pressure form of analysis, but it is a fair assessment of retentive knowledge. It's also a way to prepare for the pressures that occur in the workplace.
Giving exams also provides a final review of the most important material covered in a class. Students who prepare for their finals benefit from reviewing on their own or in class; students who don't prepare still meet the material again simply by taking the test. Working through a test is in itself a learning experience.
As a teacher, my opinion is that examinations, whether midterm or final, should not be used as punishments for students. Both types of examinations are supposed to be comprehensive assessments of knowledge and skills gained through that point of the semester. Many high school teachers and college professors offer exemption from a final exam as a reward for students who accumulate enough points to reach an “A” by the end of the semester. For students who have not done this, the final exam is an opportunity to boost one’s grade by demonstrating knowledge and skill at a level that has not been previously demonstrated by completion of assignments.
As we begin a course we provide a pretest to learn "What the student knows," thus avoiding repetition. Throughout the course we assess learning daily and weekly with major and minor evaluation tools to find out "What the student has learned." The final exam should be an opportunity for the students to apply what they knew and learned throughout the semester/year. Without it the trio is incomplete. Thought provoking multiple choice and/or discussion questions should be presented reaching the higher levels of Bloom's taxonomy (application, synthesis, evaluation). Certainly through daily activities and discussions the learners would have been presented this type of question prior to the final exam.
Remember we are teaching children/young adults not just a subject. Modeling final evaluations certainly is a dynamic way to teach students everyday life lessons. In real life we are evaluated continuosly over every concept we were suppose to have encountered. We must rely upon a summation of previously learned material or situatuations daily in order to communicate effectively in the real world. Never would we respond to a boss that we do not remember a procedure presently because we learned it last year or that the person who presented it to us was ineffected.
I've always felt that the final exam is my last, best chance to teach the material. At my high school, the finals are worth 20% of the student's grade. That sounds very high stakes to the kids (although if you do the math you would see that even a 20% final is only critical to kids on the border between grades), so they bring a lot of caring to that test.
In the days up to the test we revisit the course's key contents and most important info. I'm very much in favor of using the final as a teaching instrument.
TAking of a final exam is not only a method of evaluation, but it also serves as a pedagogical instrument. Considering that content is taught to be a lasting part of your educational achievement, the recall required on a final stimulates yur long term memory of that material. Yes, they should be required
If a way could be found out to make all the students taking up a course to learn perfectly well all that they need to learn as part of their education of program, there will be no need for final exams. However, such no effective methods of teaching or learning exist. For various reasons, including the interest of individual students and the efforts put in by them, different students achieve different level of proficiency during the course of studies. The final exams are needed to find out the extent of learning of each students. Such measurement of learning of student is helpful to student themselves. Much more than that, it provides a information to others about proficiency and learning of individuals.