Instead of having students regurgitate their accumulated knowledge onto a single Scantron or essay book in a make-or-break situation, teachers should open up to the idea of giving more project-oriented finals.
Tests tend to cause students excessive stress due to the fact that many of them are somewhat unpredictable. A teacher may give a study guide, but it’s virtually impossible to know exactly what will be on a test.
This unpredictability leads to cramming and excessive amounts of stress for students. Some individuals get anxiety during tests that could cause them to blank on information they may have studied.
Projects differ from tests as they are generally assigned earlier in the semester, so students have ample time to develop their final piece.
Projects also allow students the freedom of trial and error. When working on a project, if an individual is underwhelmed by the way a certain element turned out, they are able to simply scratch it and try a different approach.
When taking a final test, there are no re-dos or second chances, and if mistaken can spell disaster for your overall grade.
Eraser residue and unintentional pencil markings can cause errors when the Scantron is graded electronically, and there have been times when students have failed tests simply because they wrote the wrong test number down.
Projects that allow creativity are generally more engaging due to the fact that the creator can actually have some fun while doing it. If given the choice between tedious studying and an interesting project with creative freedom, most students would likely pick the latter.
Projects place students in control of their own grades. Rather than worrying about how hard their tests will be, students can rest assured knowing that their grade will be representative of the amount of work they put into the project.
The same professors capture the attention of students by breaking the molds of traditional teaching techniques, project finals engage students by allowing them to express knowledge in an alternative way.
Assigning project finals instead of exams allows teachers to reduce the stress levels of their students, giving them a more interesting opportunity to display the knowledge they’ve gained from the course.