Tomorrow another written exam followed by the two worst days of the year next Monday and Tuesday…. I hate exams… one of the most useless and anti-learning inventions known…
I agree. I’m from a culture where final exams constitute 100% of the final grade, and that’s a system that is way too easy to game. I gamed it for 5 years, so I should know.
If I were allowed not to hold any final exams, I would gladly dispense with them. But my school is weirdly obsessed with filling classroom seats with bodies during the exam week, so I can’t.
I try to rescue the concept of the final exam by walking around the entire 1 hour 40 minutes and working with each student individually. I teach language and literature. The teaching can’t be about people sitting around in silence. If a student spent the whole class session in silence, it means I failed at my job. When I was undergoing my pedagogy training, the professor would show up to my class, sit in the back with a timer, and make scary faces at me whenever I talked too much. (Curiously, there are still schools that castigate teachers for establishing a dialogue with students instead of lecturing. I’m looking at you, Concordia University.)
I also assign the lowest possible value to my final exams when I’m allowed to. I just don’t like the concept. The best thing about North American higher education system is that people are present and engaged all semester instead of appearing at the very end and rattling off stuff they memorized from the textbook.
I also detest textbooks. I assign a crapton of readings, obviously, but I like to tailor them to each course.