Non-Traditional Finals

Maya Farrell, Staff Writer

It’s a district requirement that every high school class should have a final exam. However, many classes do not have much use for a written final. Because of this requirement, many teachers are burdened with figuring how they’re supposed to asses their students while meeting all the district mandate. Many teachers have solved this problem by giving their students non-traditional finals.

Non-traditional finals can be presentations, performances, art pieces, and demonstrations. Non-traditional finals are a good solution to the stress of students because it allows students to demonstrate their knowledge of the subject through a performance-based activity. Almost every student spends hours studying concepts that are ill-fitting representations of what they had been learning throughout the semester. These non-traditional finals also engage the students more than traditional finals, since they get a break from the usual multiple choice test.

This struggle is most apparent in performance-based classes. Some classes, like Choir, do a multiple choice test on different eras of music and music theory. However, other classes, like Theatre, hold a final performance in front of friends and family that reflect the different elements of theatre that were learned that semester. They also complete a written reflection of how they feel they did on their performance and how improvements could be made.

Even classes on more traditional subjects have adopted the concept of nontraditional finals, many of which execute their finals in the form of presentations. Writing 101 does what is called Genius Hour where students have the whole class period every Friday to learn any skill or concept that they desire. At the end of the semester, students present their Genius Hour project to the class.

Non-traditional finals are creative ways to asses students on what they learned over the semester and can, sometimes, even reflect what they learned better than traditional ones. They also engage the students more in the process of finals and they can remove significant levels of stress.