Features

The Other Side; How finals work, from a teacher’s perspective.

By ALEX XU
Staff Writer

For students, finals represent a few weeks of long nights filled with cram sessions, excessive use of Quizlet, and three hectic days of high-stakes exams and fried nerve endings.

What students don’t see, however, is the other side of the equation.

Many students believe that teachers “have it easy” during finals, perceiving the teacher’s job as merely running pages of scantron forms through their grading machines.

However, finals week is often just as stressful for teachers as it is for students, and the amount of work that goes into preparing for finals by teachers is often grossly overlooked.

Teachers often begin preparing for the finals for months in advance, as final exams must be checked for clarity, fairness, length and other attributes that ensure the testing process is as unbiased and straightforward as possible.

“It’s a long process,” said Mrs. Barbara Kurdziel (Math Dept.). “Once I create the test, I have to check it for balance, then take the test, and then rewrite the test, often as many as 3 or 4 times. I then have another teacher take the test and edit it.”

The creation process for a final is far more complex than a normal test. This is because final exams are meant to test a wide variety of concepts that students have learned throughout the year, while unit tests only focus on specific skill set.

Teachers must ensure that the questions on the final are specific enough to truly test knowledge but also be general enough to cover all the skills the students learned.

We have to ensure that each question tests a single particular skill or concept,” said Kurdziel. “Each question tests only one underlying concept, not four or five.”

Furthermore, study materials must also be prepared. As a result, finals take extremely long to create, often involving multiple teachers collaborating over an extended period of time.

“As a whole department combined, it takes us about probably five or six hours all working together” said Mrs. Valerie Thompson (Science Dept.).

Finally, stress isn’t just something that affects students.

Stress affects teachers as well, as their concern for their students often leads to them being stressed out during finals week as well.

“I absorb a lot of stress from my students [during finals],” said Kurdziel. “Not that I mean to, but it’s just something I do

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