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I think my final was just too hard
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amother




OP
 

Post Fri, Jun 24 2022, 12:07 am
I’m cringing as I mark them. It took hours for them to complete it and now that I’m grading them, I’m so disappointed in many of their grades. I know these girls studied hard and I’m concerned that my final was more difficult than I’d realized. I’m sorry to end the year on this note!
Ultimately, many girls will get a better final grade because they’ve done well on quizzes and class work. I’m just not sure if they didn’t quite understand everything I’ve taught or if I didn’t teach it well. It’s my first year teaching this subject.
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doodlesmom




 
 
 
 

Post Fri, Jun 24 2022, 12:09 am
Maybe if no one got an answer correct, You can drop it from their mark?
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DrMom




 
 
 
 

Post Fri, Jun 24 2022, 12:17 am
You could grade on a curve.

You said they did well on quizzes and HW. Was the final actually harder, or was it just that they had to understand how all the material they learned throughout the class fit together?
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notshanarishona




 
 
 
 

Post Fri, Jun 24 2022, 12:22 am
I always grade on a curve in that type of situation. Grade the test out of whatever grade the highest student got. So if the highest student got 80 give then 20 free points, etc.
The students shouldn’t be penalized if we he class as a whole wasn’t prepared properly for success.
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amother




OP
 

Post Fri, Jun 24 2022, 12:23 am
I guess I’ll have to finish grading everything to see if I can apply a curve. So far the marks range from 50- 102%. My quizzes had a consistent format all year. The final had more parts to it and I’m just wondering if it was also too long. An essay was included as well, and for most so far, it was their worst writing of the year. I don’t think I’d include an essay in a final again; it seems like there was too many items to complete in a limited amount of time.
Obviously, I’ll have to discuss with my curriculum advisor and principal. At this point, I just feel badly for my students, who had such a difficult time. They were a great class.
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amother




OP
 

Post Fri, Jun 24 2022, 12:25 am
I actually worked a lot of ability for extra credit into the exam, which helped a few students. Freebies were included as well. Still, the most recent one graded got a 70 and she is definitely a 90+ student. I hope she does much better when I count the rest of her grades for the semester.
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DrMom




 
 
 
 

Post Fri, Jun 24 2022, 12:42 am
amother [ OP ] wrote:
I guess I’ll have to finish grading everything to see if I can apply a curve. So far the marks range from 50- 102%. My quizzes had a consistent format all year. The final had more parts to it and I’m just wondering if it was also too long. An essay was included as well, and for most so far, it was their worst writing of the year. I don’t think I’d include an essay in a final again; it seems like there was too many items to complete in a limited amount of time.
Obviously, I’ll have to discuss with my curriculum advisor and principal. At this point, I just feel badly for my students, who had such a difficult time. They were a great class.

I think it's great that you included an essay. It's a way for students to really demonstrate their understanding of the material. So many teachers would rather just mark multiple choice tests (or get a computer to do it).

Maybe you can hand back the tests and go over it with the class to better understand why they thought it was so difficult.
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amother




Wheat
 

Post Fri, Jun 24 2022, 12:55 am
Was something else on at the time of the test? were they exhausted from a final the same day? did they have an activity beforehand that made it hard for them to concentrate?

Before blaming yourself, see if there is another explanation.
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Iymnok




 
 
 
 

Post Fri, Jun 24 2022, 6:44 am
Did you try to take it yourself? Time each section.
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amother




Springgreen
 

Post Fri, Jun 24 2022, 7:08 am
amother [ OP ] wrote:
I’m cringing as I mark them. It took hours for them to complete it and now that I’m grading them, I’m so disappointed in many of their grades. I know these girls studied hard and I’m concerned that my final was more difficult than I’d realized. I’m sorry to end the year on this note!
Ultimately, many girls will get a better final grade because they’ve done well on quizzes and class work. I’m just not sure if they didn’t quite understand everything I’ve taught or if I didn’t teach it well. It’s my first year teaching this subject.


You can still tweak your grading to accommodate that
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amother




Lemon
 

Post Fri, Jun 24 2022, 8:05 am
I give out a study guide that explains how my final is structured, what the sections are, how many points per question in each section, as well as which concepts and vocab they need to review. I find the girls really benefit from explicit reminders on test-taking strategies and reminders about pacing themselves - if they have 2 hours for a final, then they should set time limits for each section so they keep moving and don’t run out of time. Since you gave an essay, maybe the girls had trouble with time management for informally outlining and then writing the essay - I’ve run into that before. It’s a skill that can be practiced throughout the year, next year. For the record, I do give an essay on the final and I find the girls don’t do great writing on it - but it’s important for them to have practice writing in timed, pressured situations since a lot of the standardized tests they might take later will require that.

In your situation, where girls performed much worse than you expected, you absolutely need to grade on a curve (leaving out the kid who got 102 - use the grades from normally 90s students who got 70s to guide the curve). Are there any questions your good students are all getting wrong? If so, I wouldn’t count those questions in grading. It means you didn’t teach those concepts well. (No shame in that! It happens to everyone sometimes! It’s helpful to know for next year.) Are there any patterns in the grading - like are girls doing much worse in the last sections, indicating maybe they ran out of time? If the widespread errors are coming early in the final too then I would carefully analyze the tasks girls were being asked to do - were they struggling with certain types of questions, and if so, you’ll know to teach that skill more explicitly next year.
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amother




Peony
 

Post Fri, Jun 24 2022, 8:32 am
Take this as a lesson not to make such a hard final again. What is the purpose in it? I wouldn't give back the finals...it will make the girls feel bad. Add a big curve and let them get a good mark on the report card if you know they did well all year. What do you gain making them feel bad about themselves, especially when you said it's an excellent class.
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amother




Saddlebrown
 

Post Fri, Jun 24 2022, 9:19 am
amother [ OP ] wrote:
I guess I’ll have to finish grading everything to see if I can apply a curve. So far the marks range from 50- 102%. My quizzes had a consistent format all year. The final had more parts to it and I’m just wondering if it was also too long. An essay was included as well, and for most so far, it was their worst writing of the year. I don’t think I’d include an essay in a final again; it seems like there was too many items to complete in a limited amount of time.
Obviously, I’ll have to discuss with my curriculum advisor and principal. At this point, I just feel badly for my students, who had such a difficult time. They were a great class.
Take out the extra credit when you are figuring out what the curve would be. That’s throwing it off.

And if one girl did significantly better than the others then put her grade aside as well.
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amother




Tan
 

Post Fri, Jun 24 2022, 9:19 am
My students always do worse on the final than throughout the year. Even when I make it "easy." Of course as a good teacher, you will want to reevaluate your final for next year and make changes to it in a way that is conducive to test -taking, but at a certain point, it's also important for you to realize that you are not responsible for their marks. You need to do your best job to teach them the information clearly and at a pace they can take in. You need to do your best in preparing them for the test, giving them the skills necessary to take your style of test (For example, did you teach them essay writing skills?). You also need to do your best job creating a test that accurately reflects what and how you taught the girls. After that, low grades aren't on you.

Here are some factors I have seen which greatly impact final grades:

1) They are overloaded with studying. Even if my final is the first English one, it's still coming after a full week of Hebrew ones. The girls lose patience to keep knocking information into their head.

2) All my tests are cumulative. My quizzes are not. The final is obviously testing the girls on the most information from all year. Automatically it's harder for them to do as well as they've done all year. More potential for forgetting something, they're more likely to study superficially instead of in depth like we learned it.

3) The actual day of the final affects their grades. If it was hot outside and the AC wasn't working too well, they had another final that day and were anxious about that one (even if they're well prepared for mine), they just got back a final from a different teacher and didn't do as well as expected so morale lowers, a neighbor classmate finished the final and is pressuring her to finish up already so they can walk home together. These are just some other factors that can and do have an impact.

4) It's major chasuna season. Girls with siblings' weddings get excused to take the finals earlier or later, but any other relatives weddings, girls are expected to take their final on time, even if they didn't have time or patience or quiet space to study.


At the end of the year, there are many methods of analyzing if the girls mastered your material. The final isn't the best option there is. I give a final because I have to, but I have another full year project which we finish at the end of the year and that lets me (and the girls) see how much they've learned and gained.
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amother




Cerulean
 

Post Fri, Jun 24 2022, 9:25 am
amother [ Peony ] wrote:
Take this as a lesson not to make such a hard final again. What is the purpose in it? I wouldn't give back the finals...it will make the girls feel bad. Add a big curve and let them get a good mark on the report card if you know they did well all year. What do you gain making them feel bad about themselves, especially when you said it's an excellent class.


She didn't go into this trying to make such a hard final...or trying to make them feel bad.

The best feeling as a student is getting a challenging exam and acing it. Doesn't feel good to be given a joke final.
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amother




Electricblue
 

Post Fri, Jun 24 2022, 9:38 am
amother [ OP ] wrote:
I actually worked a lot of ability for extra credit into the exam, which helped a few students. Freebies were included as well. Still, the most recent one graded got a 70 and she is definitely a 90+ student. I hope she does much better when I count the rest of her grades for the semester.


I would grade it differently so the marks look better if your final was to hard then your at fault girls are overwhelmed final time they don’t need tricky finals they don’t need to be challenged.
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amother




Tan
 

Post Fri, Jun 24 2022, 9:42 am
One more small thing. I apologize in advance if it comes across as petty.

You don't feel badly for your students; you feel bad. (One can only feel badly if their sense of touch, as in physical feeling with hands, isn't working properly.)
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amother




NeonYellow
 

Post Fri, Jun 24 2022, 10:02 am
amother [ Tan ] wrote:


At the end of the year, there are many methods of analyzing if the girls mastered your material. The final isn't the best option there is. I give a final because I have to, but I have another full year project which we finish at the end of the year and that lets me (and the girls) see how much they've learned and gained.


This and this again! Can anyone really explain the benefit of having 10-15 finals crammed into 2-3 weeks? Retaining all that information is close to impossible. All that does is overload and overtax the brain. Cramming in this manner doesn't do anything for long term retention. You literally have the girls studying just for the exams with no long term benefits.

Is the goal just to get grades or for kids to reap benefits for the future? We should limit finals to critical studies, so the kids have a chance to absorb that information, and then do projects and activities for the rest of the studies.
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DrMom




 
 
 
 

Post Fri, Jun 24 2022, 10:17 am
amother [ Peony ] wrote:
Take this as a lesson not to make such a hard final again. What is the purpose in it? I wouldn't give back the finals...it will make the girls feel bad. Add a big curve and let them get a good mark on the report card if you know they did well all year. What do you gain making them feel bad about themselves, especially when you said it's an excellent class.

I disagree with the bolded. It is annoying to take a test and never get it back, never know what you got wrong, what you got right, etc.

Besides, going over the test with the girls can help you figure out what went wrong. Maybe when you discuss it with them you'll find out that question #6 was worded vaguely, or the multiple choice options were too similar, or the class never really understood that lesson on Athens vs. Sparta, or your students felt it was too long and just rushed through it in order to not leave questions at the end blank.

It's ridiculous to just pretend the test never happened, so the girls don't "feel bad."
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amother




Gold
 

Post Fri, Jun 24 2022, 10:25 am
amother [ NeonYellow ] wrote:
This and this again! Can anyone really explain the benefit of having 10-15 finals crammed into 2-3 weeks? Retaining all that information is close to impossible. All that does is overload and overtax the brain. Cramming in this manner doesn't do anything for long term retention. You literally have the girls studying just for the exams with no long term benefits.

Is the goal just to get grades or for kids to reap benefits for the future? We should limit finals to critical studies, so the kids have a chance to absorb that information, and then do projects and activities for the rest of the studies.


Agreed. Having worked in 2 high schools and some elementary schools, the schools have a pressure to appear academic. It's very sad all around. I don't know where this pressure is coming from but it's across the board. They rather teach boring, academic subjects and test them on this they don't even care about then actually have them learn this that matter to them. That's all I'm going to say.

And it's coming from the parents. But the principals have no spine.
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