By Jacob Mayforth, Tabitha Drover, Megan Isaac, and Mathew Meyer
It’s finals week at Homer High, halfway through the year when students are tested on their cumulative knowledge the past semester, the difficult thing is no two finals are the same. Through interviews, teachers were found to have similarities and differences in the way they test and this often is the cause of stress and anxiety for students who are unaware of how to approach their finals.
The biggest question faced when studying is, “What am I expected to know?” Five out of eight teachers from different class subjects responded. “I expect them to be able to give a good reflection of the material that we’ve discussed in class,” Noted Mrs. Borland, a Language Arts teacher for 9th, 10th 12th grades.
Amy Christianson, Homer High band teacher said, “The band final is essentially their concert, so I give a self reflective final because they’ve already demonstrated they know the material.”
Marc Robinson, HHS choir conductor, had a similar perspective, “Although I do occasionally test them on music notation, basic rudimentary skills of reading music, the hard part is preparing for the concert.”
Whether or not finals are about specific knowledge or general concept is so far undecided. Most teachers tried to balance between the two. However, in physics Mrs. Thompson decided, “I test on specific knowledge, science isn’t conceptual.” In the field of math, Mr. Akers split his credit, “Partial credit for the concept, probably more generously than I should, but mostly for specific knowledge.”
This workload on students can easily cause stress, and teachers note the amount of anxiety that go into finals week. Mrs. Fisher, who has “…decided to change it up and do an essay final, with the big ideas over and over again. I think the kids feel a lot more confident going into that kind of final because they’re writing down what they know.”
The teachers have a hard time with constructing the tests. Mrs. Fisher said, “The hardest part is finding the questions and the amount of time it takes. You have to look back over the whole semester and what you emphasized as a teacher, and what you feel they should know.” Mrs. Spence has decided to throw away the standard test format and, “give a project instead, because I think it’s asking too much to expect them to remember history facts.”