Passing the Oblique Asymptote


The last two weeks of school may very well be the most stressful weeks of the entire year. In these last 9 days I have 7 quizzes, two projects, 1 test, a research paper final draft, a MoVe talk, a Kemps tournament to finish, and more venture work.

I’m just a tad bit stressed right about now.

I don’t get it; why does the end of the year have to be so stressful? Why does it never feel like we had enough time to get everything done? Why do we get so many last assignments? It isn’t like this is the last time we will ever be learning.

I wonder how things would be different if we changed the concept of final exams. What if our “final exam” was some big transdiciplinary project where we could present on anything we wanted in any format as long as it connected to some theme we decided on?

I still remember last year when my science teacher showed me this amazing final exam he had created. It was entirely interactive and even involved a page where you would use prototyping materials to create a model of a cell. This exam required you to be creative and use concepts from across the year to apply it into actually doing something rather than just answer multiple choice problems.

I mean from what I can tell based on the limited accidental empathy work I’ve done, teachers feel obligated to use multiple choice questions because it is expected on a final exam, even in subjects like math where we never have multiple choice questions all year.

I understand that part of the reason for using multiple choice is because it makes grading easier and when there are that many tests to grade, it needs to go somewhat fast but still be even grading overall.

So what if we were to take collaborative final exams? (I’ve mentioned this before in some of my other blog posts from first semester exams, but this idea just keeps coming up.)

What if we tested collaboration skills on this final exam by making the class work as a team to complete a challenge. To be honest that may pose to be more challenging then you would think, and it would test skills that will be more important than knowing how to find the oblique asymptote on a graph in the long game. ( An oblique asymptote is a line that a graph will get infinitely close to, but it will never touch or go past this line. )

To my knowledge, I’m going to exempt all of my final exams (then again all of the assignments coming up makes me nervous about that, mostly for AP World where 6  of those quizzes will take place in to prep for the AP exam #blah), so in actuality finals themselves aren’t really stressing me out.

However, I still don’t feel like I can celebrate my year of learning because of how much work is going on in these last 9 days.

One of my teachers today said that teachers don’t try to be creative or different with their finals because they are too afraid of having to change it after it gets reviewed. I find it a little weird that you can have one team review all of the finals because when you think about it, it would seem weird for an English teacher know what a good math final looks like right? (That was just an example; I don’t even know the exact team that reviews finals I just know I’ve heard this mentioned.)

I wish a teacher would try to push over that line of what a final can be. How do we know if it would get approved until we try?

To add to my list of valuable lessons I’ve learned this year: changes take risk taking and the willingness to fail up. HMW end the year on a meaningful note instead of a stressful one? I can’t wait to see that experimented with; I can’t wait for us to cross the oblique asymptote line.


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