Question for educators & students

Discussion in 'Off-topic' started by Xiclotl, Oct 4, 2010.

  1. Xiclotl

    Xiclotl Active Member

    1,998
    3
    38
  2. TippinTaco

    TippinTaco New Member

    4,447
    0
    0
    I'll be happy to chime in on this one.

    As far as Final Exams go I really think they're a waste of time. You go to school for an entire semester and at the end they quiz you on what you learned and on a college level, thats begging for alot. I've had professors go through half if not an entire book in a semester and at the end tells everyone:

    FINAL EXAM!!

    No heads up on questions or any idea whats its going to be taken on, so you as a student are off to go through months and months of notes, books,recorded lectures and the list is endless. To find out on Final Exam day that all the things you studied wasn't on the test... You're grade goes from a B to a D on a simple test score.

    Teachers are lacking the skills now a days to actually teach students and not just lecture them daily on stuff they consider useful knowledge. I've had professors who gave you THEIR opinion when it came to World Government but when you did the research to find the total opposite answer.

    So what do you get from a class where the teacher lectures on EVERYTHING in the world, but decides to test you on something thats not even part of his lesson for the semester? Should I be dropped from a class because the professor bites? Should I be entitled to a refund because he decided to express his own opinion in his lecture and not lecture what the cold hard facts are? Better yet I complete his entire class with a A to B average, to find out his exam was designed to fail students? I promise you it happens.. alot.

    So give group projects, or personal projects, or assign a report on certain subjects based upon what was lectured and taught in class. But don't teach 100 students about the world economy, but deside to have students write papers on physics... Glad we can have this chat, I've wanted to vent my frustrations for years.. Now I'm back to school next semester to work towards the Masters in computer science...
     

  3. samman23

    samman23 New Member

    1,679
    0
    0
    I always liked it when teachers wrote the syllabus to say that if you have a high enough average, you could skip the final. I also liked where teachers would drop one exam and it could be a final if you wanted. That way you would only have to take the final if you botched one exam.
     
  4. groats

    groats New Member

    2,568
    0
    0
    If you are talking about college, you misunderstand the purpose of college. It is NOT for the professor to spoon facts into your head so you can pass a standardized exam - that was high school.

    In college, you are being tested to see if you, first of all, have enough self-discipline to have actually studied the textbook; secondly, if you have shown some initiative by going further than just the textbook to do your own research; and thirdly, to see if you can apply your newly learned reasoning skills to a situation that wasn't in the textbook.

    That is true if the college is any good. Which may no longer be a safe assumption.
     
  5. GAGunOwner

    GAGunOwner Active Member

    As a former educator I will say yes, but I am old school. :D

    Plus, it helps the teacher know if what was taught really sunk in.
     
  6. gruntpain1775

    gruntpain1775 New Member

    7,992
    0
    0
    Quizzes with an heavy emphasis on formal papers, with sources that are not just the text book. In other words, you have to research the subject and come up with a good paper showing your understanding of it.

    For some classes no tests or papers. Something like a political science class a required debate would be great.
     
  7. mrtopher1980

    mrtopher1980 New Member

    146
    0
    0
    Depends on the subject as others have said, although at the same time I don't think education should be a free for all. Example I failed a writing class for being late too many times, another kid failed for calling him Dave not David. I retook the class got an A on every paper and got a B in the class since there is no perfection in writing so no one was allowed to earn an A. That teacher even said she wanted me to come for dinner and meet her daughter, she was joking but serious.

    Tests seem like a definitive way for someone to verify what I learned and eliminate some of that BS. My brother is one of the smartest people I know but did horrible in school since a years work meant more for a grade then a final. He actually knew and retained more then most according to his tests but would fail a class for not doing homework.. in reality he did it but thought of being corrected to him was worse then a 0.

    So grades during the course of a class may show your willingness to work or motivation, a final shows what you retained. What actually is more important?
     
  8. a_springfield

    a_springfield Well-Known Member

    3,393
    125
    63
    I am [s:jzrqhva4]going to[/s:jzrqhva4] at Kennesaw right now and of the three classes I am taking only one has a scheduled final and it is optional. Last semester I had one out of four classes that had a mandatory final. All of the upper level classes are more focused on group work than anything else.
     
  9. Hock25

    Hock25 New Member

    4,148
    0
    0
    It's been a long time for me, but, if I was doing well in the course, the final was just pulling teeth. If I was doing poorly, the final was a last-ditch effort to barely pass the course. Either way, the final was a waste of time, because, if doing well, it's not necessary; and, if doing poorly, I deserved to fail.
     
  10. Hack Causality

    Hack Causality New Member

    865
    0
    0
    It's a really good idea to get rid of them. When I was in high school they spent a tremendous amount of time talking about test-taking skills because the only thing the tests do is examine how well the student takes tests. Then when I was getting my teaching degree, they spent a huge amount of time talking about how the entire nature of the exam and accompanying atmosphere was going to destroy a quarter of the class because they simply fell apart when put into a testing environment, regardless of how well they knew the material in an application-oriented environment like a lab.

    My high school test-taking class was mandatory. Why?! If it is even possible to improve test scores by studying test-taking skills, let alone necessary, the test itself is a miserable failure at its only objective: testing how well the student knows the material.

    I would estimate something approaching a third of the total preparatory time is spent learning how to take tests and various other forms of examinations, calculate grades, and generally exploit the education system because the student has to to pass. This is as if Driver's Ed was forced to teach students how to operate radar detectors, spot speed traps, and drive nine miles over the limit because it was the only way to keep from being pulled over every single day. It is absolutely unacceptable and we ought to be ashamed.
     
  11. TippinTaco

    TippinTaco New Member

    4,447
    0
    0
    how does " How well I take tests" determine how much I learned through the class? what if I'm an A student but when I take the test, I get nervous and perspire until I fail it even though I personally know the material? Don't say this isn't possible because it happens all the time. I've taken tests and met with friends after class to find out we 're all sitting there going: @#[email protected]#[email protected] I knew that answer.

    I'm not asking my professors to spoon feed me period. I personally earn every grade I'm given but if you wish to agree or disagree its a fact that professors like to put their spin on crap. I had a CJ class my sophmore year in college. And through out this entire class the teacher would base all his facts in his personal beliefs on the justice system. I personally sorted through his rants and to find out on test day he was testing us on his rants.. Teachers need to learn to quit pressing their opinions on students and teach us what we need to learn not waste my time listening to you ramble on about why you personally think our government is conspiring to take over the world....Now that I think about it... he may have been right after all..
     
  12. mrtopher1980

    mrtopher1980 New Member

    146
    0
    0
    Well that can test how you handle yourself under pressure, which is an important life skill. Sure you may be a whiz at making an excel spreadsheet in class but when you get a job and you have 2 hours to complete it that is a test, if you sweat and get nervous to the point you can't do it you failed your job and you may get fired, life's version of an F. Doesn't matter if you remember how to do the sum formula sitting in the bar with your buddies later if you can't do it when you had to at work.

    The point of a test is just as much to see what you retained as it is if you can use it.

    Lets take shooting as an example and use a LEO not your average joe. A LEO may be fine going to the range and shooting for fun with friends or cans in the back yard. He may be horrible and fail a qualifying test for his department because when under pressure he can't accurately fire his weapon, do you want him carrying a gun on duty when if needed it will be even more stressful and based on his testing he won't perform.

    What about an electrician, You can have the best guy in the class answers questions all the time, knows the code by the book. But when sitting there with a mock up wall and other students around can't properly even run wire. Do you want that guy wiring up your house that you'll trust your family in?

    While finals for a grade in a class may seem odd and not reflect your overall knowledge they like all other tests do show how you perform under pressure, which is the real world.

    I didn't do well in lower school and left college because I didn't do well with their way of learning, I tested fine and worked well under pressure showing I knew it but couldn't follow the rules to get there. Really just two ways to look at things and no one way is right or wrong. I hate the process and like to skip right to proving myself. Others like the process and see no reason to prove themselves (not meant in a way to offend like you can't prove yourself). My job hates my process since it is often unconventional but at the same time i've turned the image of the company around in the markets I cover, my bottom line is results personally I don't care how I get there. Which is why I'm for finals.
     
  13. Hack Causality

    Hack Causality New Member

    865
    0
    0
    Which would be all well and good if the exams were competent at testing the knowledge of the student, which is the whole point. A perfectly competent electrician would likely fail an test asking the ohmic rating of standard 12-gauge wire insulation, the OSHA slip hazard regulations, or how many turns are in a regulation Western Union-type wire joining. I've taught a number of free adult computer competency courses, and while I could easily teach someone how to set up an outline-style page, I could not for the life of me write down the exact steps, menus, tabs, and buttons involved.
     
  14. mrtopher1980

    mrtopher1980 New Member

    146
    0
    0

    I think we agree and you may be missing my point is the same as yours. Knowledge means nothing if you can't apply it and use it which seems to be what we see eye to eye on. As I said the guy who may know the ohmic rating and twist factors may test well in that regard, but he cannot apply it to the real world. A final does not have to be a final on paper so I'm not sure why that is the focus. In the case of math yes it may be physically on paper but the point is that if you failed you couldn't apply it when needed even if you knew the formula later in gym glass. Back to the electrician I'd want one to be knowledgeable enough to pass a written test regarding regulations as this could cause delays in my build or result in fines, but i'd be more concerned with if they can apply it and just know it even if they don't know why. For a spreadsheet I didn't say anything about writing out the steps, i don't recall taking any computer classes that involved writing out steps and were not practical tests of us doing some sort of sample. I'm not sure if you tested in those free classes as I'd guess there was no pass/fail, but if someone couldn't do a "final" at the end of a lesson in a class would you be confident they could go to work the next day and do it?

    Everyday is a final exam in what you learned up to that point in your life and you have to apply it. A final in school is just informing everyone including you what you can actually apply up to that point, it just happens to often be a paper version of practically applying your knowledge. I get that it may not test exactly what you know, but it does test if you can use what you know and if you can't use it whats the point of knowing it?
     
  15. Xiclotl

    Xiclotl Active Member

    1,998
    3
    38
    This. I met so many "senior" level students who couldn't write a scientific paper (I was a psych major) to save their lives. I doubt the papers they wrote would have qualified for HS class. It shows that just because you pass a class that you haven't necessarily absorbed the information. It annoyed me greatly that I took psychological statistics as my first junior level course and then only used it for one other class, research method & writing skills. There was no reinforcement of what is a vital skill for graduate work.
     
  16. drtybykr

    drtybykr New Member

    2,823
    1
    0
    Ah yes, typical liberal thinking. :screwy:
     
  17. Match10

    Match10 Active Member

    6,922
    4
    38
    Soley speaking as a college engineering instructor.... If you were not paying attention all semester, and cannot figure out how to design the bridge so it does not fall down at the end, you deserve to fail. The final exam proves it. Either it works, or you fail.
     
  18. mrtopher1980

    mrtopher1980 New Member

    146
    0
    0
    I honestly don't know if you are being sarcastic or not, but to me that seems fairly free of any political bias.

    If we were to break it down and try to make it political how would that even remotely show liberal thinking? Wouldn't liberal thinking be give the guy who can't do it a chance when he screws up pay him anyway then willingly pay a fine to help fund some park for kids I don't have to play in and pay another guy to fix it? Conservative thinking would then be do it once do it right pay the guy who can get the job done? Again if we are making this political wouldn't mine have been closer to the latter?

    If you meant nothing by it then I apologize, i just read too far into it and couldn't see the joke. Happens sometimes when I have Obama speeches playing in itunes, I just get drawn into the hopes of change :)
     
  19. gruntpain1775

    gruntpain1775 New Member

    7,992
    0
    0
    I'm a History Major. It amazes me how people can not write a research paper to save their life. They can have a month or 2 to do it, work their butts off and still suck at it. I can knock out a 7-8 page one, complete with sources, footnotes, etc in about half a day and walk out with no less than a high B. Usually get an A, a point of 2 taken off for something lame like an improper space or something.

    Then you have the ones that can score a 100% on a test or quiz....but can't understand understand History and and how things can to be to save their life. All they know is what year Columbus came to the New World. Me, I suck at tests, usually get a B, but know and understand history.
     
  20. cwats04

    cwats04 Member

    897
    0
    16
    As i was going through school, we always had some form of final exam/project.

    Freshman year the final exams covered everything from the entire year.
    Most of my classes after freshman year the final exam really only covered half of the semester at most.
    I only remember one class after freshman year that the final exam covered the entire year and for good reason. my groundwater hydrology class built on itself the entire year so if you couldnt do the simple stuff in the begining you were done for.

    My favorite test system is one in which you take 4/5 tests over the semester and you drop you lowest 1/2. everyone is going to have a bad day/week and this way you can tell if the students are screwing around or actually trying.