Final Tests or Final Projects: Which Is Better For Students?


Blayne Aina

Students often debate which finals system they prefer better, tests or projects.

Blayne Aina and Owen Youngblood

Finals are something every student at Creek has to take regardless of the grade. There are mixed feelings about finals, but they can be helpful for teachers to see what their class’s academic understanding is. 

“Projects can often arguably be more difficult for the teacher to grade,” English teacher Emily Kelogg-Dunlop said. “A multiple-choice test is harder for a teacher to write but it is easier for a teacher to grade when they can grade it through Schoology or a scantron or an electronic platform.”

Though it is more convenient for students to take multiple choice question tests because it is less laborious on the teacher, Kelly-Dunlop believes in giving students more opportunities to demonstrate their knowledge on the material through assigning projects that test students’ knowledge.

“I think that a project is something that happens over time, whether a few days or a week, gives students multiple opportunities to show what they know,” freshman Alexander Gonzalez said via text. “Projects measure students’ learning and knowledge, not their ability to perform in high stress situations.”

Students who prefer working with others might find that project based finals cater to their strengths. They may be more likely to try their best and give 100% on a final that fits them the best. Projects also give students the opportunity to apply their knowledge to situations that are close to what students might experience in situations after high school such as in a college or workplace setting. 

“Research shows that synthesis, the type of thinking involved in a project, develops critical thinking skills for a richer learning experience,” Kelogg-Dunlop said. “It is more authentic to a discipline to demonstrate learning through a mode that is historian. Not often is a writer asked to take a multiple choice test or a lawyer taking a test to argue a case.” 

On the other hand, some students prefer to have written finals because it teaches and challenges them to write out what their answers will be for themselves rather than portraying their knowledge through a group based project.

“In all honesty, I realize I perform better on finals when there is a written final right in front of me,” sophomore Ollie Davis said. “I can focus on giving it my all knowing that I’m putting my answers in the correct format.” 

Written finals can help teachers especially because it provides a quick way for teachers to gauge what their students have learned throughout the year. 

“Although stressful, tests can be a really good way for teachers to see where students are and for students to demonstrate their understanding of the material,” science teacher Lindsey Paricio-Moreau said.

Students may feel more at ease with something that doesn’t require them to sit down and be in a stressful environment, like an hour-and-a-half long final test.

“When I have to sit at a desk and take a long-written test, I feel like I’m more likely to forget the material than if I were to do a project sort of thing with a group of people,” sophomore Scarlet Bailey said.

When taking a final test, students can often feel the need to do really well on them as they are the “make or break” test of that quarter. However, sophomore Micheall Hudson believes that when teachers offer a project as a final, it lowers students’ stress and anxiety and causes them to perform better overall. 

“I prefer doing more of a project final because it helps with stress,” Gonzalez said. “I don’t have to study and sit there for however long doing a test while being stressed out, but it also helps me express my creativity more in the final, making my final grade better. I was able to perform in a more calming environment for the final.”