An alternative assessment

Some teachers assign projects over giving exams


Taylor Bravo

Yearbook advisor Jennifer Holcomb dosen’t have exams for her students, taking part in a trend for some teachers.

Riley Laurence, Staff Reporter

For most students, by the time December comes around, their minds are focused on one thing and one thing only: winter break. However, before students can take their two-week vacation from school, they must take semester exams. But instead of the traditional multiple choice exam that comes to mind when most people think of finals, some teachers on campus have decided to take an alternative route to assessing their students’ knowledge.

“Exams have never been a part of any of my classes as I don’t think all classes lend themselves to a paper based test,” video technology teacher Brian Higgins said. “For many elective classes, a final project is a more accurate way to gauge a student’s mastery of content than a paper based exam as students have to show what they have learned by way of a tangible product that showcases the skills learned thus far.”

Higgins is one of many teachers on campus who does not give a final exam to evaluate his students’ knowledge, but assigns a project so his students have a chance to show what they’ve learned in an alternative way. For some teachers, however, final exams directly correlate to their students’ success in the course.

“For my class, giving a semester exam is vital to the kids’ success in May when we take the AP test because it allows me to see where the students are,” AP Statistics teacher Darla Emerson said. “It also allows me to see what I need to do in order to get my students where they need to be.”

Either way, most teachers give some form of an assessment to make sure that their students are learning the material necessary to cover the course objectives.

“I really think it’s important for students to show what they’ve learned through application rather than just multiple choice answers or fill-in-the-blank,” Photojournalism teacher Jennifer Holcomb said. “I want to see that they can apply all of the different skill sets that we have learned and reinforced and that they can make a product out of it. That, to me, is going to demonstrate true learning.”