Shouldn’t Be In That Position

As I watched the highlights of the Sunday NFL games, one coach was asked about his team’s one-point loss. He replied, “We shouldn’t have been in that position” and said that the final drive of the game for the opponent did not decide the game. He noted that the team bungled numerous opportunities throughout the game and that no game should come down to the final play.

This is exactly how I feel about the end of each semester; one assignment (i.e. the final) should not determine a student’s success or failure.

I know, however, I will have 5-6 students whose passage in a course will be decided by the final. Of course, the odds would seem to indicate that at least one student won’t make it as well. The parents will beg for extra credit or something else, but I always hold firm; no extra assignments and no retakes on the final. After 18 weeks, a student is ready or is not. If a student can’t pass the final, I don’t want to hear anything.

This would seem to go against my allowing students to retake tests belief, but it really does not. Other tests are the first summative assessment after numerous practices. The final is all review material, so the students will see no surprises. All of the material has been seen before. Plus, my finals are always objective. No excuses, especially when (in reality) the final did not determine the student’s success.

Anyone else feel this way?

3 thoughts on “Shouldn’t Be In That Position

  1. Jim Van Pelt

    At some time you have to assign grades. If a student has had every chance to make it and still puts all her/his eggs in the final basket, then that’s the way it goes for the kid. They didn’t “fail” the class. They failed to master the material necessary to pass the class.

    I’m constantly amazed by kids or parents who ask for extra credit to pass a class where the student has failed to demonstrate a grasp of the material, but that attitude is also held by a lot of teachers: that a grade is a measure of effort rather than competency.

  2. drpezz Post author

    Every answer is right or wrong; there are no answers of which I determine the accuracy or closeness to the correct answer. A definite answer is attached to each question.


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