If a school is going to administer final exams, then it should be for the purpose of generating instructional data. Otherwise, why is it being done?

If the campus intent is to collect relevant, objective instructional data, then the final exam must be a common test, shared by the department and preferably the district. And, this is critical, every student needs to take it. That includes the student with A’s and the students who come to school everyday. It is the only way to ensure the data is valid. When the “best” students are exempted from the final exam, the staff has a built in excuse if the test results are bad.

“What did you expect, only the slackers and weak students took the test?”

With a common test, taken by all the students, after some basic disaggregation, the campus can determine which teachers have used practices that should be examined and shared and which teachers need some additional support.

Also, the data from final exams should be one of the final factors considered before summer teacher training and beginning of the year in-service plans are finalized.

Instead of viewing final exams as the last activity of the current year, view them as the one of the first activities of the next year.

Your turn…