THE BLOG
06/18/2013 05:53 pm ET Updated Aug 18, 2013

Pop-Finals

Yes, it is that time of the year again. The end of the year when high-schoolers (except seniors) everywhere rejoice at the single word echoing around the halls of their schools. Finals. This was all sarcastic, of course. No one "enjoys" finals, but some definitely deal with it better than others.

Finals are one of those requirements that teachers and students must meet. The purpose of finals isn't to torture students and make them hate school; finals exist to actually see if the students actually retained the information taught earlier in the year. This is not my issue with finals. I get why they want to test us on it, but what I don't understand is how it counts as retaining information if a student studies everything again. I imagine retaining information more like a pop quiz. A student has no time to prepare, and they have to go off of what they learned and talked about in class and homework.

While this is how all finals end up, I was wondering what having pop-finals would be like. Go in to school and be met by your teachers in your class with a test that involves all the concepts from the beginning of second semester. For the students who don't pay attention in class and don't do homework, this type of a final would be the end of their grade. Meanwhile students who understand material during class, but have trouble studying for tests, would have the upper-hand with this form of test.

The goal of schools is to teach students, not to give tests. Unfortunately, this assumes that everyone can learn/understand material at the same rate as everyone else. So what happens to all of the students who are lost and need extra help on tests and exams? The end-all remedy for teachers who think a student needs more help, meeting with them on their spare time and extra time for tests.

As a student, I do much better on pop quizzes than I do on actual tests. This is because I am the student who pays attention in class, and understands the material, but when it comes to taking tests, it takes far more work for me to be ready than others. I don't need extra time or to meet with teachers more, I need a form of test-taking that has never been used. Something to even the playing field between me and those who meander through classes, and still do well because they can remember material from studying easier than I can.

Of course my idea of a "pop-final" would never work. People would study every subject, every night for the last three or so weeks of school. Some think that this would be an upside, that they study more because they don't know when the final would happen, but that is also using fear as a tool.

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