It's getting somewhat close to the end of the school year, so I made a final exam for my fourth grade students. I brought the exams to class this week, so I could show them what the exam would be like, and we could decide when the exam would be.
I expected to make it a take-home final exam, so they could have their parents help with some of the answers, or they could look up the answers online. But the children insisted on taking the exam right then and there, without any preparation whatsoever. I tried to get them to have a study session first, but no luck.
I guess the grades were about as good as you'd expect, considering that they were unprepared to take a final exam that week. The middle grade on the curve was 77 out of 100, and I'm wondering what to do with the students who got low grades. Make them retake the exam? That'd be unfair to the students who haven't taken the exam yet. Give them a second exam? Give them some kind of extra credit opportunity?
I think part of the problem is that the students who failed the final exam were the students who goofed off the whole time. They failed, simply because they didn't write anything down at all on the exam paper. I warned them multiple times to stop talking and work on the exam, but they ignored me. I don't really want to reward their bad behavior by letting them pass without any effort.
The oddest part of the whole class, I think, is that we had a visiting student named Joshua that day. He's never been to the class before. Joshua decided to take the final exam, and he got a higher score than some of the other students. In fact, if Joshua hadn't skipped the last page, he would have easily beaten the curve.
I think that says something when someone who has never attended one of your classes can pass the final exam. And that really reflects poorly on the students who failed.