Sunday, September 13, 2015

Well-to-do Maryland school district to eliminate final exams for high school students

Montgomery County, MD (suburb northwest of Washington DC) is ending the practice of giving high school students two-hour final exams, according to the Washington Post story by Donna St. George, link here

The assertion is that reviewing for finals and giving them takes too much instruction time.

When I went to high school, senior high started in tenth grade, and we had three hour exams, two a day, at 9 and 1.  These experiences were considered vital for college preparation.

There was a tendency even back in the late 1950s for most final exam questions to be free response rather than multiple-choice.  For American History, we had to answer ten out of 25 questions.  In tenth grade English, I recall something about analyzing the motives of characters in both Julius Caesar and Silas Marner. 

In undergraduate school, at George Washington, exams were two hours.  But at the University of Kansas (graduate school) they were three hours.  In math, a final exam would typically have ten problems, sometimes with a choice of questions to answer.

In high school, some calculus courses divide final exams (in northern Virginia) into two sections: without calculator, which have to be turned in first, and then with calculator.

Speaking of academia, it’s about time that teen medical innovator Jack Andraka arrives at Stanford to start as a freshman.  The academic calendar says the semester starts Sept. 15, later than many universities.  Facebook headquarters aren’t far away.

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