No More Finals?

Harvard seems to be backing out of them, according to Boston.com.

What happens when the final exam starts vanishing from American higher education?

The answer: No one knows. But apparently we’re about to find out.

Across the country, there is growing evidence that final exams — once considered so important that universities named a week after them — are being abandoned or diminished, replaced by take-home tests, papers, projects, or group presentations. Anecdotally, longtime professors say they have been noticing the trend for years. And now, thanks to a recent discussion at Harvard University, there are statistics that make clear just how much the landscape has changed.

The article goes on to talk about the “serious pedagogical questions about 21st century education” including:
How best do students learn? And what’s the best way to assess that?
Is the disappearance of high-stakes, high-pressure final exams a sign that universities are failing to challenge today’s students, or is it just a long overdue acknowledgment that such tests aren’t always the best indicator of actual knowledge?

I teach and use tests because studies have found that people who have tests over part of the information remember all of the information better. I want my students to learn what I teach.

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