Do Finals Really Assess Student Knowledge?

By Lola Isiaka on May 10, 2017

It’s that time of the year again: final’s season.

In my 19 years of living, I don’t think I have ever come across an individual who has enjoyed finals. How can a single assessment determine the fate of our GPAs? So, I think it’s safe to say finals are every student’s worst nightmare. Sure it’s a way to assess what students have gained from the class, but how effective are they? So to begin I’d like to explore the objective of finals.

Finals serve as a form of assessment for students. However, do they really assess the knowledge of students? Here is one reason why finals aren’t effective:

How can one test or assessment determine the potential of an individual?

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As many already know, people learn through different ways. There exist auditory and visual learners. Having this in mind, most professors or teachers teach in one way or the other. Some teachers teach in a way that caters to auditory learners, thereby leaving the visual learners at a disadvantage. I also question if finals undermine the importance of a student-teacher relationship. There is just too much emphasis placed on the grading system when student-teacher interactions are very essential.

Secondly, the amount of stress finals place on students is very harmful. Finals season deeply affects the mental health of most students, especially those who are not the strongest test takers. Hence why I sometimes refer to finals season as ‘anxiety season.’ Thus, I must question if the stress caused by finals limit students’ abilities to succeed on the assessments.

Additionally, finals simply encourage students to cram. Rather than encourage students to actually understand and internalize the information, students just dump all the information onto their finals. This is worrisome because then it makes me question if students actually achieve the objective of school. It makes me question if any information has been retained. And in the long-term, if there is enough room for intellectual growth.

Even though there are many disadvantages of finals, assessing a student’s knowledge is very important, therefore perhaps the best way to assess students is by diversifying how finals are taken.

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