What EHS Teachers Think About Finals

What EHS Teachers Think About Finals

Lauren Holm, News Editor

        As finals approach rapidly, students around EHS have been studying constantly as they work through the final stretch of classes. While all of us students have our own thoughts, stress, and opinions surrounding finals, I began to wonder what teachers thought about these high-stakes tests.  To learn more about the opinions of teachers surrounding final tests, I asked a few teachers throughout EHS to share their opinions and their strategies as they prepare finals each trimester. 


Q1- What classes do you teach, and which of these have finals?

Q2- What is your strategy for making finals for your classes?

Q3- Do you find finals to be an effective and fair assessment of your students? Why or why not?

Mr. Dunn 

1. I currently teach Biology and Biology of Minnesota (will be called Outdoor Science Investigations next year – OSI). Both of these classes have finals. The Biology final is a cumulative trimester final, and OSI is a final project for the final.


2. When building a final it is important that the exam is an accurate representation of the experiences we had in class throughout the trimester. As a result the final exams tend to be based more on big ideas rather than specific details within the content.


3. I do. In my experience finals do not cause a major change in the grades of my students, which tells me that the test is a fair measurement of the work and energy that each student put in during the trimester. I think it is important to have some form of a culminating activity to end the trimester. Finals not only provides this opportunity, but also gives students something to build too over the course of the trimester.

Mr. Melton

1. Right now, I teach world history so I have all juniors.  I have freshmen later in the year, but right now I have all juniors, and we have a final coming up. 


2. The strategy I think for me is trying to come up with something that gauges some of the factual information but also tries to measure what I call the thinking skills, or in history, do you have the ability to interpret information rather than just dates.  And I think that’s hard because it’s sometimes hard to kind of measure that.  Some people are really good at multiple choice and others are not, and some people are really good at expressing themselves verbally while others are not.  I think coming up with the perfect final is kind of hard.  In this case, the world history team is doing a multiple choice section along with a map section. 


3. I do love the idea of having a final thing, a way to give students a final chance to show and demonstrate their knowledge. I also like how in high school, we view it as we can’t just have a final, I like that we have multiple tests throughout the trimester along with different types of assignments since you have other ways to demonstrate your knowledge. It’s not all multiple choice, and there are some more artsy assignments. So, I do like finals, but I think they work better when they are mixed with other ways of trying to figure out what students have learned. 

Ms. Haus

1. AP Statistics, PreCalc – both have finals


2. I make sure the questions are evenly divided between all of the topics covered throughout the trimester. I focus on the main ideas of the course. I also look back on previous finals to see if there is a question that a majority of students answered incorrectly and then look to see if it should be adjusted either because of difficulty or if it was poorly worded.


3. Yes, I do believe they are an effective and fair assessment of students. I make sure the topics on the final are a representative sample of what students learned throughout the trimester. I also think it is important for students to go back and review topics from the entire trimester so they can refresh their memory since both PreCalc and AP Stat topics build throughout the year. It gives students a chance to look at all of the topics and pick up missing ideas throughout the trimester.