Should Final Exams take place as the standard written test or as a Capstone activity?


Courtesy of ThoughtCo

Due to this unpredictable school year, final exams may be altered to in response to these circumstances.

It is clear that this year has been like no other, due to the raging Covid-19 pandemic. Many students have not had a single class in person, and the majority of students are learning from their homes. Because of this unpredictable year, final exams may be administered differently, potentially being replaced with a Capstone activity, which would be a type of culminating project with the material learned throughout the school year. Capstone activities would be a much better alternative to the traditional written finals, as they better represent a student’s knowledge of a subject and are a more accurate measure of one’s ability to apply information learned in a course.

With the unpredictability of this school year, all students had to make the difficult transition from learning in-person to learning remotely. In fact, many students have not attended a single class in person this year. A lot of my peers would not feel comfortable going into the school due to the pandemic and the possibility of Covid, especially sitting in a classroom for several hours at a time, taking the final. On the other hand, taking finals online remotely would have many issues. Firstly, monitoring a test would be extremely difficult, and students cheating would be inevitable. There would also be countless technical difficulties and issues with the test, and it would be challenging to ensure that testing would go smoothly. Another question arises, which poses the idea of students having an option of choosing to take either the written final exam or a Capstone project. Students should all take the same test, whether it be the written final or Capstone activity since the two types of finals have completely different grading systems and are so contradictory to each other. Taking finals from home could be potentially disastrous, but many students would not feel comfortable taking them in the school building. A Capstone project would be the perfect solution, as it can be completed at home but still is an accurate assessment of a student’s knowledge.

Another benefit of a Capstone project would be that it more accurately assesses not only a student’s knowledge but also their ability to apply it. A Capstone project would culminate what students have learned about throughout the year into a final project, which is a far better demonstration of knowledge. Learning is not memorizing flashcards the night before a big test to answer a series of randomly generated questions, which will unjustly determine one’s intelligence. Capstone activities will prepare students for the real world, where they will be asked to apply information learned for their careers rather than simply memorizing them. One single test should not determine one’s understanding of an entire year’s worth of learning, and Capstone activities would be a better measure of not only what a student has learned, but how they can apply it to a project. Students get so caught up in simply whether or not they will pass the final exam, and there is not enough of an emphasis on actually learning the material well enough to be able to reach a higher level of understanding.

During the pandemic especially, school has universally been more difficult for students, and having a single test be worth an insane portion of our final grade, it’s absurd to force students to rely so heavily on a single test and base their worth on a test score. Administering a Capstone project would solve all of these conflicts, however, because they allow students to work passionately on demonstrating their knowledge accurately, without the unnecessary levels of stress involved in traditional written finals.