Finals season is finally upon us, and the endless stream of final papers, presentations, portfolios, lab reports and exams has been assigned. This may sound like a manageable list until one considers that a student may receive this workload from every single class to conclude the semester. More than one final exam or assignment for a single class is excessive.
Students taking five classes automatically have five finals to account for in varying forms. This may include two final papers, one final presentation and two final exams. Having one final per class already induces an inordinate amount of stress in college students. According to Georgetown University’s website, this stress can manifest itself in impatience, frustration, disorganization, forgetfulness, indecisiveness, headaches, chronic fatigue, stomach problems, anxiety or panic attacks and skipping meals. These symptoms not only impair quality of life, but make it significantly more difficult to focus on finals.
Ultimately, students can use various strategies to cope with the stress levels described above. However, if several courses have multiple final assignments, the stress from finals is multiplied threefold and becomes unmanageable. Let’s say students must complete two papers and a final exam for one class. How can a professor expect a student to create quality work when they have to submit two five-page papers within the last week of classes and then study for a final exam the following week in addition to focusing on multiple finals for other classes? This is humanly impossible. Not only does this create an unhealthy amount of stress for students, but it creates piles upon piles of content for teachers to grade before final grades are due.
One assignment or final exam is enough. There are countless ways to create a singular comprehensive final exam or assignment to test if students have achieved the learning objectives of the semester. Additionally, asking students to submit only one final assignment gives them the opportunity to produce their best work. Forcing students to divide their energy among three different assignments causes them to diminish the quality of their work to simply meet a deadline.
Finally, although some professors may argue that they give students ample time to complete multiple final assignments before the end of the semester, this does not diminish the workload that increases exponentially near the end of the semester.