Teachers favor final projects over exams

Co-Editor in Chief, Manny Precht

At the end of school year, the time rolls around for students to take final exams. It’s the time every student dreads, mostly because everyone has been burdened with SOL or IB testing.

Regardless of this, many teachers still require a final exam which encompasses the entire year curriculum.

More often than not, final exams just add more unnecessary stress to students who are reading for the end of the year.

This stress is often unnecessary however because many final exams are short and easy and don’t really challenge each student like it is intended to do.

Teachers give final exams merely to meet the requirement of an end of course final exam. Although it is a requirement for teachers to give students a final exam, teachers are not limited to what they decide to assign to students.

Some teachers at AHS have taken advantage of this and have decided to give students final projects instead of final exams. Although there is still plenty of work involved, students feel that projects relieve the stress that exams place them.

“I think it’s a much more creative way to apply what we’ve learned throughout the year as opposed to simply being tested on the material, especially for more open ended courses such as the languages and history,” senior Maria Cisneros said.

Final projects definitely allow more freedom of expression and creativity, a much needed change from the conformities of the classroom. Some classes already incorporate a presentation style curriculum, such as the AHS English department.

However, other classes such as IB Topics has been limited in creativity throughout the school year.

“I wanted them to do something creative,” IB Topics teacher Jonathan York said. “Unfortunately, in my class we don’t do enough creativity projects and I wanted to give the students an opportunity to show their creativity.”

The final project for IB Topics truly was creative. Students were given a wide range of options to choose from, all of which involved some kind of creative aspect.

“They [students] could do political cartoons, they could do skits, they could do poems, they could do any type of creative project that they wanted to,” York said.

The IB Topics class has much more freedom than the other class performing final projects, IB Literature 1.

Students in IB Lit choose a poet from an extensive list of poets and are expected to create a presentation about their selected poet. The structure of this assignment follows suit of previous presentation assignments in IB Lit.

Students are not burdened with studying for a final exam, their is still a lot of work to be done in preparation for the project.

“We still have a lot of work to be done,” junior Joseph Edwin Davis said. “It’s kind of annoying honestly, we have a lot of free time in class but still have this work looming over us.”

Despite the unpopular opinion about the IB Literature final project, the alternative of a final exam would not fit with the curriculum.

“For us a final project is way more reflective of the things we’ve done all year,” IB Literature teacher Julia Hanneman said. “With the IOPs and IOs students have developed a significant skill in presenting and a final presentation project would complete that skill for the year.”

Whether or not a final project replacing a final exam does not eliminate any time actually working and preparing, there are still numerous benefits.

Especially with the way most final exams are set up, students don’t benefit from an easy recap of the school year. Additionally, a final project prevents students from cheating on a final exam; which is a common occurrence in today’s world.

A project is totally in the control of those making it so 12%-20% of a students grade is completely in their own hands.