To the Editor:
Regarding the “Finals are unnecessary” letter, my opinion is that not only are (1) quizzes and tests during the course and (2) final exams are necessary and good for a student, but (3) comprehensive exams at the end of high school should be required of all capable students to demonstrate that they are ready to enter a STEM-based, high-tech, highly competitive, capitalistic society that always is coming up with “a better mouse trap” (metaphor) that keeps eliminating jobs/careers and creating new ones.
In other words, high school graduates need to be ready to be successful, whether they are headed to college, trade school, the military or the everyday workforce.
You, dear reader, know that any knowledge and skill in which you are competent is because of “time-delayed repetition,” and that is exactly what reviewing for all the tests mentioned above forces a student to do – engage in time-delayed repetition. Knowing that a comprehensive exam awaits students as they approach graduation encourages them to not slough off (or cheat) in their courses.
In my college, each student not only had to pass 124 semester hours of courses, but had to pass three days of comprehensive testing to demonstrate that we actually learned something and were competent in our major.
Day 1 required three tests covering natural science, social science and humanities. Day 2 consisted of a major field objective (for me, the Graduate Record Exam in physics), and Day 3, a major field essay (for me, three hours of solving physics problems). For my master’s in physics at Purdue, I had to not only pass a comprehensive exam at the end of my coursework, but I had to have a B average.
Was the time-delayed repetition required for me to pass all the tests and exams in my life good for me? Yes, it was.
Was dealing with all the stress of these tests good for me? Yes, again. Stress is an unavoidable fact of life. Healthy stress levels actually can push one to peak performance, and raising a child to deal positively with stress is a requirement of good parenting skills.