Finals fail to measure or aid student success

Final exams, end of semester projects and bouts of nightlong cram sessions are upon us. With all the talk of assignments, worth a quarter to a third of our grades, it could be difficult to not crumble — or at least crack — under the pressure.

Tackling the task of closing out a semester can seem tedious and the University should be better preparing students for the hectic end of semester woes.

In the University’s mission statement, among the goals of SF State, is the ability “to create and maintain an environment for learning that promotes respect for and appreciation of scholarship… to promote excellence in instruction and intellectual accomplishment.”

The majority of courses at SF State, however, seem to stray from teaching technical and practical skills in problem solving and team collaboration, failing to mirror the progressive evolution of the workforce environment. Instead, instructors often use antiquated examination styles. Statistical and factual memorization that is not only tiresome — but a wasted effort.

Standardized testing, such as Scantron and bubble form type tests, has proven to be less beneficial to students and seems to be an easy way out for educators. It’s a lot easier to grade a huge stack of finals if all you have to do is feed them through a machine.

Often, our finals are preceded by a study guide distributed in class with the instructions boldly stated by the instructor, “MEMORIZE.”

Although, this may be easier for professors, it does nothing for the students’ education.

Having a brain full of memorized facts isn’t going to help you in today’s workforce unless you plan on being a full-time contestant on Jeopardy. Today’s job market demands workers who can think critically and solve problems on the fly, skills which are diminished, not strengthened by standardized testing.

Students who aren’t visual learners, and instead use tactile and auditory stimulation to understand complex ideas and theories have a harder time taking multiple-choice exams and memorizing written content. Multiple-choice tests won’t serve many students who are asked to perform in a difficult environment.

But until our professors recognize the futility of Zeus forms and number two pencils, we’re stuck with the system we have. So remember to keep things in perspective.

The last thing you want to do is stress out before a daunting week of finals. Allowing oneself to be too stressed out might actually be a deterrent to success. According to a piece by US News discussing tactics for getting through college finals, realistic timing and allocation for de-stressing are of paramount importance. Time for rest, exercise and eating are necessary breaks from maddening cramming.

So make the most of the system we have, fellow Gators. A few more weeks and it will all be over.