Students prefer assignments over only exams

Brook Clifford, Staff writer
October 4, 2012
Filed under News

Class structure can strongly depend on the professor, the class in particular, the major and many other aspects. However, four out of five students say that when they look at their syllabuses on the first day of class, they want to see the teacher giving other assignments besides exams.

“It helps tremendously in the job field,” Kaitlyn Maxwell, communication professor, said. “If you’ve done something hands on with it, then you have experience. Tests don’t equate to intellect.”

Teachers who give only exams may just give three or four during the semester, and then have a final exam. Some of them decide to drop each student’s lowest grade, depending on the class.

“I’ve experienced it both ways, as a student and teacher,” Maxwell said. “It helps students to have projects and other assignments along with exams.”

Some students have heavy test anxiety, while others could sleep through class and ace the test the next day. Some would much rather do work outside of class to show their true potential while others don’t want to devote too much time to it.

“I prefer classes with the homework and quizzes on top of the exams,” Bailey Derthick, an undeclared freshman, said. “If it’s just tests in a class, you have a higher chance of failing.”

Since assignments lead to class points, it would make sense that the more assignments, projects and homework in the class, the higher chance you would have at getting more points. With tests, there is little to no flexibility because messing up once could have a student catching up all semester.
“My hardest class is one with just exams,” Hannah Ungerecht, freshman psychology major, said. “I like classes with more than just exams, if we have more points we have better opportunities.”

With assignments, students have a better chance to showcase their knowledge in different aspects of the classroom. Students have different abilities and all of them should be able to portray them in a classroom setting.

“I think homework, assignments and projects can show a student’s true potential. Tests you can just study for the night before and still pass them, homework takes time,” Derthick said.

The reasons may be for teachers just giving exams, some may not have the extra time to grade assignments, some may not want to deal with students turning things in late or their excuses.
“I’ve never taught a course with just exams, I could never imagine doing that,” Maxwell said. “Having students do assignments helps me get to know them on a different level.”

However there are solutions to the problem, teachers may be able to afford to drop a test and make a project worth that amount of points. Some teachers put quizzes on Blackboard so that they can be automatically graded.

“If I was a teacher, I would give tests and quizzes and have an optional project,” Ungerecht said.

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