The school and university academic year is coming to an end, and some teachers are reconsidering their usual final exam methods to adapt to this unprecedented era.

In the Northern Pennsylvania School District of Pennsylvania, the final exam now accounts for no more than 10% of student grades instead of the usual 16%, according to An article in the student newspaper There.

In the early days of the pandemic, a professor at Chapman University decided to replace the traditional finals with a community service project full of scholars. In her introductory physics course, Professor Stephanie Bailey asked students to pair up with an isolated senior at a local nursing home. The task of the students is to pass on the physics concepts they have learned to their older conversation partners.

At the same time, at Elon University, Astrophysical Professor Anthony Crider has been trying to make his final exam more experience. He felt that he had missed the opportunity to spend the last three hours of the semester on quiet written examinations. “One of the most frustrating things that happened when I was teaching general astronomy was that I had a great semester, I would take multiple choice exams in class, and the students I really started to care about would go out of the class [as they finished] A little whispered, “Goodbye.” This is the last time I have seen them,” he said. “This seems to be a bad way to end the semester. “

He argued about what he called an “epic ending” rather than the final exam. “You can do something more attractive, louder or more creative.”

He said he is not opposed to the traditional test, but he believes that this should not be the last three hours that teachers and students spend together.

For an “epic ending” of his past, Crider created a mysterious megalithic statue, which he left in the middle of the classroom without any explanation. He left some clues related to the classroom materials, and students must piece these clues together to solve the mystery of the meaning of the statue.

But this semester, Crider found himself changing his usual practice because he thought the students were “tired of surprises.” On the contrary, in his 15-person galaxy astronomy course, he set up an optional evening course in astrophotography, and for each course the students took, they were allowed to take one part of the five-part exam. The exam is a traditional exam without boulders or other riddles.

During the three-hour exam, Crider set up two lawn chairs outside and asked the students to sit next to him for about 10 minutes after the exam, and chat with him about the semester’s gains and plans for the summer. Because each student’s test time is different, and there are only 15 students in the class, he and everyone have a few minutes. Because they were outside, they even had to take off their masks. Crider said that in most cases, this was the first time he saw these students wearing masks.

He did have a small surprise. He allows everyone to choose candy, either the galaxy, the dark galaxy, or the starburst. After all, it is an astronomy class.

“This is the right way to spend the last three hours,” Crider told me.

Explore this issue in depth in this episode of the EdSurge Podcast and update the changes that have occurred as the pandemic eases.Find it Apple Podcast, Overcast, Spotify, Suturing device, Google Play Music, Or wherever you listen to the podcast, or use the player on this page.

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