The Final Exam

Today is the last day of classes for my composition students.

I was going to have a portfolio as their final exam; they would submit to me pieces of writing that they’ve been working on all semester that would count as a test grade. The discontinuity of this term, though, made portfolios unreasonable (and besides, most students didn’t turn in about a third of the required work as it was).

I’ve written a final exam for them instead. There are ten subject/verb agreement questions, ten commonly confused word questions, five pronoun reference questions, and an abysmal paragraph for them to edit, courtesy of Henry from two terms ago (remember Henry? How could we forget!?). Finally, they are to write two short essays, one based on their choice of an image and one on their choice of a written prompt.

Here are their choices for images. The instructions for the essay read as follows: Choose ONE image and write a well-crafted and thoughtful response. What are your first impressions of the piece? What does this image mean to you? What do you think it might represent to others? Both of these images are famous in American culture; what do you think the image you chose says about us as a people? What other issues or questions can you address?

I can’t WAIT to see their answers. I’m sure I’ll want to share some of their answers with you; watch this space…



Rosie image credit

guns and flowers image credit



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4 responses to “The Final Exam

  1. Darci

    I love this idea for a final. Is it possible that you can email me the format? I would use it for the Narrative final that I am giving at the end of the semester. My students missed this section due to me not taking over the class until mid-November so I will not be using the state periodic assesment. I love the idea of the paragraph edit option. I also include grammar as the warm-up so your opening is helpful. I would of course give credit in the footer.

  2. Darci, I’m MORE than happy to share!! If you email me your snail mail address, I can send you a photo-copyable copy, or let me know what format you need and I’ll zip you off a word processing file.

  3. Your assignment reminds me of “document based assessment”. I bumped into this several years ago when I was preparing a NECC workshop on primary sources in the classroom.

  4. What strikes me more than anything is that Rosie’s bicep is not actually flexed. This is the first time I’ve seen the image this large, and it just really stood out to me – there’s no muscle definition in the bicep!

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