Sunday, June 16, 2013

My new Final Exam

Over the past years I have been trying to make the end of my courses a celebration not a date students dread.  I say that because, I have seen students cry, stress, and create all sorts of excuses, whenever I brought up their "30% final Exam".

This year, I have taken an entirely different approach.  Instead of a 30% exam, which consists of one part multiple choice, one part numerical response, and one part written, I have changed it to the following:

1 part entirely written worth 15%, and a presentation worth 15%.  In our school, there are certain criteria for which a student can exempt a final exam.  In my course I have made the presentation mandatory, and a student can only exempt the written portion.

How does the presentation work?

Students get the following BIG ROCK outcomes of my course:

Students are then required to create a presentation around these outcomes.

What does it have look like?  How long should it be? How many questions should they have? Does it have to have videos? 

The answers to all these are "Up to the student!"

Now, since I have over 40 calculus students, I do not have time to watch 40+ presentations, so I do allow students to collaborate in groups of up to 3.  HOWEVER THEY DO NOT GET GROUP MARKS.

During the presentations I ask questions and depending on the individual answers I differientate the assessment mark for each individual student. 

The presentations usually take 40-60 min in length with disucssions, questions, and even some learning occuring.

My students no longer dread the final and one even told me

"Mr. Martin I spent more time creating my presentation then I did preparing for my diploma in my other course, which is worth 50% of my mark"


  1. Very interesting idea.

    How much time do you give students to create their presentations?

    Do you find that some students get creative in how they cover the outcomes or do they tend to just recreate questions covered in class? Do some link outcomes together or are they usually covered independently?

    Sorry for all of the questions I'm just very curious about the how it turned out.

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