After a long semester of hard work, everything comes down to taking a dreaded final.
As a standard, most finals are worth somewhere from 10-20 percent of a total grade. A 20 percent final has multiple effects on students, for some it can be a miracle worker, and for others a grade wrecker.
The student that made their way through the class nonchalantly with their B or B+, the panic is setting in once finals roll around. A 20 percent final has the ability to lift that 87 percent up to a 90 percent. Fueled by panic, and sometimes desperation, these students kick it in to full drive. It’s the most studying that’s happened all semester, all to battle for their A. It’s a gamble, but for some students a heavily weighted final is what they are relying on.
On the other hand, the hard working student who has battled on all semester to hold on to their A-, a 20 percent final can be a killer. A 20 percent final has the ability to drop that A- to a B+. After a long semester of late nights studying and not enough sleep, sometimes a final push isn’t enough to hang on to their A.
Losing the battle isn’t only disappointing, but can seem extremely unfair. Although both students have put in effort, should a student who obviously learned the material throughout the semester and held an A really receive a lower grade than someone who made a last minute attempt to raise their grade.
However, finals that are worth 10 percent of the final grade may not be weighted enough. A 10 percent final doesn’t have the same ability to drastically change a grade. The downside to a 10 percent final is that the whole point of a final is to test students on the information they have learned throughout the semester. Having a final that doesn’t significantly impact someone’s grade means that students with grades that aren’t going up or down, have the tendency to brush off that final.
Teachers need to give an incentive to force students to take their final seriously, and that is giving their final significant weight.
Although it may seem unfair to weight a final so heavily, it’s logical for teachers. Students have to continue to work hard and finish out their semester strong to either maintain their grade or move those few percentage points up.