Teachers’ Perspective During Finals Week

As finals week approaches, students are preparing, trying to cram as much material as they can into their heads. However, a perspective not commonly thought of during finals is the teacher’s. While students are preparing, teachers are working hard as well, deciding the type of final they want to give, how they will prepare students for the final, and deciding on the material they want to include on the test.

The week prior to finals week is commonly referred to as “dead week”. During this week, teachers often review material with their students, engaging them in activities as well as normal work consisting of previous and current lessons’ material in order to prepare the students for their final.

Different teachers have different ways of readying their students for their final test. Some employ a variety of methods. English teacher, Mr. Roman, says, “I have my students work in small groups to prepare (for finals). I also review, depending on the type of final, and go over the structure of writing for other types of finals.”

Social Studies teacher, Mr. Cossey, has  a different way of preparing his students. “I play Kahoot (a game played using student’s phones) with them and give them a study guide that reviews the material.”

However, other teachers, choose not review the past material with their students before the final. “I don’t really prepare them, because I want to see if they’ve really learned anything. I don’t want them to just cram.” says science teacher Mr. Chinn.

Another focus for teachers giving finals is making the final comprehensive of everything taught during the semester. Mr. Roman said, “ My final is cumulative, so students have to stay consistent and stay on top of their work. If they do this, they’re rewarded.”  Mr. Cossey echoed this statement, saying, “The ones who don’t show up throughout the semester are usually the ones who don’t do so well.”

When it comes to the final itself, different teachers prepare different types of tests, Geometry teacher Ms. Su, has different types of tests, depending on the class. She says, “For Geometry, we have a multiple choice final, but for my Computer Science final, students have to code a multipage website to demonstrate they understand what I’ve taught.”

Other teachers have finals that are more straightforward. Mr. Cossey says, “My AP classes get a document based question, or a DBQ, which is an essay that students have to write which is generally based off a historical document. My regular classes get a short answer test.” Mr. Roman incorporates both a written and oral final, saying, “I give the written portion the week before so that I have time to evaluate, and a presentation on the final day.”

Though some teachers simply make a test out of the material taught, others go to greater lengths for their finals. Ms. Su, along with the rest of the math department look at past tests as a census for what needs to be emphasized on the final. “What happens is the math department teachers will get together and review old tests. If we see there’s a trend in students doing poorly on one specific part of it, we’ll do our best to review that part prior to the test, and we’ll use this information to tell us what we should take off and put on the tests,” she explained. Mr. Chinn’s method of creating a final is similar, using old tests to create this year’s final. “I base my tests off previous years’ AP tests, and the tests are made in a way so that it shows some sort of retention and improvement.”

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