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How would you feel about a semester final counting as just 1% of your grade? - October 31st 2015, 09:32 AM

Since finals basically force you to try to remember material learned from 4+ months ago, since the beginning of the school year through the end of the semester, sometimes final exams can be hard. Halfway through the school year, you have to remember all the way back to the first day of school.

There have been cases where even people who get A's and B's on everything else can still get a low score on the final if it's easier to test on material freshly learned, rather than things that are months old. Because finals - well the first semester final, at least - is usually between December and early January, around the holiday season which can further distract performance while trying to remember 18 weeks worth of material at one time.

So should finals count as 1% of the semester grade to avoid getting a low grade from the stressors of it, like 18 weeks of material at one time, and the stress of the holiday season associated with the end of the first semester?
   
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Re: How would you feel about a semester final counting as just 1% of your grade? - October 31st 2015, 02:11 PM

Absolutely not. The point of classes is not to learn something just to pass a test, you SHOULD remember it a couple months later. I think that burden falls on students. You need to study so you can remember. Classes aren't meant to be forgotten as soon as you finish whatever chapter you just tested on. I don't agree with a cumulative final exam counting as most of your grade, however I really don't agree with it counting as almost nothing. I think it should be weighted more than non-cumulative exams and other work but not heavily enough that someone with an A could fail the class by failing the final.

Finals aren't supposed to be easy. "You have to remember all the way back to the first day of school," remembering back a few months shouldn't be that hard if you study. I could still pass exams on classes I took 1+ years ago and I have a worse than average memory due to health concerns.



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Re: How would you feel about a semester final counting as just 1% of your grade? - October 31st 2015, 04:34 PM

I agree that exams are stressful, and I think certain things about them should be changed, but I'm not opposed to how much they count for (mine are 20% of a semester grade with each quarter counting for 40%). I kind of like having a last-minute opportunity to bring my grade up, and I usually do well on exams. It works for me because I'm a good test-taker and studier, though I can definitely see why the system doesn't work for many students.



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Re: How would you feel about a semester final counting as just 1% of your grade? - October 31st 2015, 04:43 PM

I agree; absolutely not! The point of going to school is to learn and know the material you're being taught in a course. If you can't even remember it after 4 months, what was the point in taking the course because you'll never know it in the long run?

As someone with a university degree, I can totally understand the pressure that students feel to remember all of the material, especially if you have the misfortune of getting a prof or being in a program that is all about regurgitation of minute details, even ones that aren't really "important" just to prove that you tried to memorize the textbook.

I think that most professors are pretty good about making sure that you have opportunities to prove your knowledge of the information and, as long as you ensured you studied, took notes, did your readings and assignments, and then refreshed yourself prior to the exam then it'll be fine. Plus, I do think that most professors have the good sense to distribute the grades, like 20% on an exam 4 weeks in, 25% on a midterm, another 25% on something 3/4 of the way in and 25% on the final (more or less- I had finals ranging from 25% to 40%) and have they have the good sense to focus most of the final exams material on the last half of the semester, and not all final exams are cumulative; some profs will only put material from the last half of the test.

I never had any problem with getting average to high grades in university, and I as much as I can understand the pressure of finals, I think that most students just have to suck it up and bust their asses to compensate for the pressure.




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Re: How would you feel about a semester final counting as just 1% of your grade? - October 31st 2015, 05:11 PM

There are also those of us who have had their grades saved for doing well at the 25% final. But I see your point. I don't like classes where you really have no definitive idea of your grade because the final exams and projects count for so much that if you messed up on that, you're basically screwed.


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Re: How would you feel about a semester final counting as just 1% of your grade? - October 31st 2015, 05:36 PM

Most are probably around 20% which is fine. I don't like cumulative exams either, but they usually give you warning about those. I hated asking what would be on the test the week before only to be told "I don't know, I haven't written it yet." Stress is part of life, you have to learn how to manage it at some point, and if your classes are directly related to your chosen career you'll be expected to remember and use it years after the test, four months is practically nothing.


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Re: How would you feel about a semester final counting as just 1% of your grade? - October 31st 2015, 09:45 PM

No. I would be inclined to skip it then.
I think the stress is actually good for later in life... My high school finals were difficult, but they never prepared me for the x amount of all-nighters for exams and others I'm pulling in college.
But why should they do it in college?
For me, so I can be prepared to spend multiple nights awake lulling my future children back to bed. *fingers crossed for the kids part*

In ancient China, they had an exam system that was their whole grade. Not sure if they still have something similar.


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Re: How would you feel about a semester final counting as just 1% of your grade? - November 1st 2015, 10:07 PM

It depends on the course. For something which is cumulative like sciences, I believe finals should be worth more. In the case of more liberal arts, and the like, I don't believe you should have a cumulative final worth more than 1% of your grade. The point of school is to learn, yes. But, I can assure you that most of what you learn in high school will be forgotten over time unless it was conceptual. Because of this, I believe the ideas of finals are altogether a really poor way of judging whether or not someone has learned. Math and sciences I can see the necessity of a final being worth more since they are conceptual based. However, considering sciences usually build on prior knowledge, I think finals are nearly useless in this case because your most recent material should prove mastery of the former material. If it does not, then all you did was simply memorize formulas, equations, and ideas without really understanding it to begin with.

In the real world, in the working place, you aren't really judged by on how well you remember the 21st president, or the war of 1812. You're judged by how efficient you can learn new tasks, how well you are organized, how well you can research, how well you can take notes, and how well you can problem solve. If you don't remember the 21st president, it doesn't matter. So long as you know where to find the information. For this reason I really think finals are a terrible stress on a student, and virtually useless. Schools should be teaching students how to think, solve, and research. If you can use those 3 methods, you can get a lot farther in life than someone who rote memorizes and spouts information they learned the past 4 months of class, only to forget it to following semester.

The idea that schools is there for you to learn is true. But let's be honest. In the real world we have working methods and data bases to keep track of things for us. It's more important to know how to use this things effectively and reliably. Memory is faulty. Using reliable resources is not.

I think the posts in here confirm the idea that our method of testing has really gotten into students heads. Tests do not prove mastery of material. In fact, they don't prove much of anything. This has been shown over, and over, and over in studies. This is why there needs to be reform in the educational system. You can even test this out yourself. Save your finals this semester, provided you are allowed to keep them. Then, next year, pull them out. See how much of it you actually retained. I bet you it will be less than 25% of the test. But you know what you can do? Research the information.

The stress I can see as a necessity since you will be pressured with deadlines in the workplace. However, surely there are better methods to simulate these stress levels. Not to mention, in the work place, you typically have more than 1 chance to get things right. You also have unlimited resources, and peers you can consult with. You aren't limited to one chance with one feeble human mind trying to remember volumes of information that can easily be looked up.

The argument of why take those courses if you're going to forget the material in 4 months, doesn't really hold, either. For many, a degree is just a way to improve ones resume. In the US, the 1st 2 years of courses typically have very little to do with your desire major apart from pre-reqs. They're only requirements to give the state and schools more money. I also don't think the goal of a course is to literally retain everything you learned in it. I believe a liberal education serves to give a different perspective on life, and to train students to think different than in a linear pattern. If you take 1 thing away from a course, then that course was worth it.

For example, if history taught you tolerance, it was worth it. If english taught you empathy, it was worth it. If math taught you logic, it was worth it. If you just memorize the course information without really APPLYING it, and just using it as a storehouse of knowledge for a year until you forget it, THAT is a wasted of money.

I am in an engineering/comp. sci. program. I am a 4.0 student. I don't remember anything I memorized in English Composition 1 or 2. Literally nothing. But, I learned from those classes that I need to be more analytical in my approach to things in Comp 1., which has helped me in my math classes. In composition 2, I took away that morality is relative to individuals and, typically, where they live. In speech, I learned how to prepare and organize material. But, I do not remember ANYTHING from the text book. It was always my projects and reports where I've learned. Education is not, and should not be, about passing a final.


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Re: How would you feel about a semester final counting as just 1% of your grade? - November 3rd 2015, 05:50 PM

This definitely depends on what kind of time period we're talking about. Half a year, or a quarter, isn't a big deal I think, and I think that "final" exams in that sense do represent fairly a student's ability/knowledge (although this obviously depends on many other things too). 12 months is the uppermost limit though in my opinion.

At my university, we have a "final" exam that students pass after four years of studies (additionally to all the tests and exams at the end of each semester). And it contributes 0% to our ultimate grades. All we need to do though, is to pass it. And I think it's a good idea. It forces students to re-cap stuff that they'd otherwise just probably happily forget about. By the fourth year, most students are a bit more mature and understand that the stuff they learn on a degree is actually useful, and more job specific than some of the crap kids are still often taught in some schools (like remembering capital cities of 100 different countries).

I think 0% grade for 4 years is fair too. Because remembering what you've learned 4 years backwards and recalling it in a 1 hour long paper... you have to be autistic to handle that, and nobody is going to get a high grade unless they cheat... and by that I mean, have an encyclopedia open on a smartphone under their desk during the exam. Most people don't pass the first time.


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Re: How would you feel about a semester final counting as just 1% of your grade? - November 6th 2015, 03:12 AM

Like a few people have stated. It depends on the class and or the major of the program. Lets take someone in the medical field. Lets say a med student. I wouldn't get mad if said person didn't do to well in the Comp 1 final. But would be slightly worried if they did bad in an anatomy/physiology final.
   
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Re: How would you feel about a semester final counting as just 1% of your grade? - November 17th 2015, 02:51 AM

1 percent of the grade? I wouldn't even show up.

If I were a professor , there wouldn't be a comprehensive final. First of all, finals don't make much sense- since you have obviously tested previously on the same material that is covered on the final, so another "grand " test on the same thing is redundant. But more importantly: when teachers assign finals, the last chapter(s) usually ends up being taught in an overly brief fashion or not tested at all. I'd instead thoroughly teach every chapter and the "final" would be an ordinary exam on the last stuff we covered.

I have always been a proponent of dropping the lowest test grade- or at least weighting the lowest score less. In college, tests are the majority of the grade- and people have off days-- people get into car accidents/traffic jams, people get migraines and cold/flu, people pull all-nighters and can't function,etc. I'd never use a grading scale that allowed one off day to ruin a grade--especially since that one failed test could potentially hold a person back an entire year of college or end a person's aspiring career.
   
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Re: How would you feel about a semester final counting as just 1% of your grade? - November 17th 2015, 03:02 AM

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Originally Posted by Proud90sKid View Post
1 percent of the grade? I wouldn't even show up.

If I was a professor , there wouldn't be a comprehensive final. First of all, finals don't make much sense- since you have obviously tested previously on the same material that is covered on the final, so another "grand " test on the same thing is redundant. But more importantly: when teachers assign finals, the last chapter(s) usually ends up being taught in an overly brief fashion or not tested at all. I'd instead thoroughly teach every chapter and the "final" would be an ordinary exam on the last stuff we covered.
I guess that could also depend on the classes as well too. A comprehensive final for general education classes don't have much use. But would work wonders for classes that are geared toward your actual degree/major.
   
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Re: How would you feel about a semester final counting as just 1% of your grade? - November 18th 2015, 04:23 AM

I wouldn't like it. Although I haven't had a final since my associate degree. We had a standardized test for the subject content like pharmacology, med-surg, OB, etc so it wasn't material we covered necessarily and our professors had no control over the content. Imagine that.


In my graduate program so far I have written a lot of papers but no final.
   
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Re: How would you feel about a semester final counting as just 1% of your grade? - November 18th 2015, 06:53 PM

If the final test is worth 1%, then whats the point of it then? I mean, your being tested on an entire semesters worth of material and it's only worth 1% of your overall grade in that semester. The amount of work isn't worth the grade you could potentially receive. That and I was one of the people that left things to the last minute so I needed to cram material and get a decent mark on the final in order to pass.
   
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Re: How would you feel about a semester final counting as just 1% of your grade? - November 18th 2015, 06:58 PM

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In college, tests are the majority of the grade
That's not necessarily true. I have had classes that the grade was almost entirely tests, however I've also had classes that had no tests and classes with a mix. Most of my classes were weighted with projects counting the most towards our grade (I'm not necessarily talking about group projects either). I've also had a lot of classes where the "final" exam was something really simple because the professors were required to hold a final exam of some sort. So really it depends on the college, your major, the professor, etc.



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Re: How would you feel about a semester final counting as just 1% of your grade? - December 2nd 2015, 12:31 AM

Would it make any difference if a 1% final applied to high school instead of college? Some places make exceptions for high school seniors, and juniors in some cases, where they don't have to take the final at all if they are in exceptionally good standing.

But maybe they should allow those same exceptions for some people at college too.
   
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Re: How would you feel about a semester final counting as just 1% of your grade? - December 2nd 2015, 12:37 AM

I had a prof who said if you got an A in his class, you didn't have to take the final, but most don't do that.


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Re: How would you feel about a semester final counting as just 1% of your grade? - December 5th 2015, 08:26 AM

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1 percent of the grade? I wouldn't even show up.


I have always been a proponent of dropping the lowest test grade- or at least weighting the lowest score less. In college, tests are the majority of the grade- and people have off days-- people get into car accidents/traffic jams, people get migraines and cold/flu, people pull all-nighters and can't function,etc. I'd never use a grading scale that allowed one off day to ruin a grade--especially since that one failed test could potentially hold a person back an entire year of college or end a person's aspiring career.
It depends on the type of classes. In my associates, they were almost all we had plus a pass/fail clinical portion. Meaning you had about five tests you were graded on. Bachelors portion was mostly just writing papers. Graduate so far is writing about the same amount of papers but I have entered into the nurse practitioner portion of the masters yet and instead currently in general classes.
   
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Re: How would you feel about a semester final counting as just 1% of your grade? - December 19th 2015, 12:50 AM

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I was one of the people that left things to the last minute so I needed to cram material and get a decent mark on the final in order to pass.
If people indeed manage to do well on a final by cramming for it, then I'm pretty sure it's no more harder to "cram" for a regular chapter test, and a regular chapter test should be easier anyway because the test is about 1 chapter at a time, not 10 all at one time jumbled together.
   
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Re: How would you feel about a semester final counting as just 1% of your grade? - December 21st 2015, 04:35 PM

I would seriously leave school a week early.
Aaaand I already posted this. Damn, this has been up for two months?

Its worth noting that many good classes have earlier concepts that easily tie into the later concepts, so its easy to remember. I seriously can't remember a time since freshman year where I actually forgot anything from the start of the semester, except possibly history and some math concepts. But I am pretty good at school, for what thats worth.


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