With the end of the school year sneaking up on students, finals are going to be a worry for just about everyone within the next few weeks. Here are the current plans as of late: Finals will most likely not be done in the math department and will probably be done in the science department. The world languages department will continue to have a simple reflection final that will be mandatory for every student, and the English department will not have a final.
As of today, the math department is unsure of whether or not they will have a mandatory final, but the common opinion is leaning heavily towards no. This can be attributed to the fact that the math department has had a difficult time knowing how students have been accustomed to online classes. The math department is also worried about how cheating may have affected the students’ ability to learn this year.
“There is a real threat especially in the mathematics department ,” Mark Krebs, head of the mathematics department, said.
In general, it is much easier for remote students to cheat in math with online calculators, and adding to that loss of control, students’ personal devices are difficult to monitor for many classes. The science department has held onto the final, but it’s unlikely that the final will be a test and more likely that it will be a project or essay standing as a cumulative grade. What exactly the final is will depend on the individual classes. All chemistry classes will do the same finals, and all biology classes will do the same finals, and so on. Every course will have its own decision on whether or not there will be a final in their own subject.
“Unless there is a strong academic reason for those exams this year, my suggestion would be to consider not giving an exam,” Dan Olandese, head of the science department, said.
The world languages department hopes to have the final stay in its curriculum. The final for the world language department has been a student reflection since 2019. The reflection is meant to be a summary of the student’s feelings about the class, their experience, and how they feel about the language and culture, while also using the language in the writing.
“ is not graded… it is an opportunity for students to show what they have learned without the pressure of being for a grade,” Elaine Diveley, the world languages department chair, said when asked about why she thought the world language finals should be mandatory. The English department will not have a final this year, a clear contrast between the world languages department which has a very similarly formatted final. The English department’s final changed from an essay at the end of the year to a reflection not long ago. This reflection was meant to encompass how students felt they had changed and improved their writing since the beginning of the year.
“It was an accommodation that we’re making based on those changes ” Dr. Amy Howerton, head of the English department, said.
Although there may be required projects or summative assignments in some classes, in the end, that is up to the instructor. For students who want to raise their grades in a final, it will be a discussion between the individual and the teachers.
“There is nothing standard about how teachers need to respond for all students,” Dr. Howerton said.
It seems as though finals are phasing out of this semester, and the departments are leaning towards having more summative projects instead of long tests. The pandemic and hybrid learning are still affecting students and the curriculum to this day, and the departments are still adjusting to the changes being made.