No More Final Exams At Harvard?

No More Final Exams At Harvard?

According to Harvard Magazine, final exams are "going the way of the dodo."

Last spring, a mere 23 percent of the school's 1,137 undergraduate courses gave exams, the magazine reports. And a new faculty vote dictates that a professor must actively decide whether or not to give a final within the first week of class -- historically, it had always been a given that a class would have a test at the end of its run.

The impetus behind exam extinction? Among other factors, professors questioned their value as assessment tools and disliked the responsibility of proctoring them.

The Harvard Crimson reported in April that professors are increasingly being prompted to consider creative final exam alternatives under the school's new curriculum, adopted in 2009.

While this development might come as welcome news for students, the National Review, for one, is not happy, and fears what is to come:

...Given Harvard's reputation as a trendsetter, we should expect better. Just imagine: Students will be delighted to forgo finals, and instructors will be thrilled not to have to create or grade them. Everybody finishes the semester earlier. (The last few weeks of class don't really count when that material won't be tested!)

What do YOU think? Should final exams be done away with? Is Harvard onto something? Weigh in below.

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