University professors justify giving finals

Josephine Bush

Five days of coffee, library time, study groups and two hour final blocks oriented in discombobulated array is what some of us like to call finals week.

Finals are supposed to be the measurement of how much a student has retained in a given semester and are the last chance statement as a student to make or break a grade and show you have successfully learned the material.


“The final exam is a way to see that you have truly learned everything in the course,” said Dr. Rachel Kirby, a German Professor.

Kirby’s German 300 course is a grammatical course that is based on learning the language. Everything you learn in a language class builds to help your skills in all areas of a language, therefore it is naturally cummalitive.

According to Kirby, students should be able to measure their knowledge by the end of the semester.

“Finals make sense, but I don’t like them,” said Cinna Good, a senior international studies major.

According to Good, finals are another chance to boost your grade but many of them cover so much information that it’s hard to know what to study for. For instance, history tests are usually broken into just a midterm and a final, each covering half of the material. When they are not, you could be covering large bulks of history and one may not know what the they should focus on.

However in Kirby’s Approaches to German Literature class, she takes a different approach to the final. In this class she is not having a final but rather a final paper. This is because she wants to teach students a set of tools for literary analysis throughout the course and a final paper can demonstrate that.

“The final paper is an opportunity for you to demonstrate that you can apply those tools in an analysis of a work of your choice, hopefully something of personal interest or relevance to you,” Kirby said.

The way finals are structured are left primarily up to the the teachers and in many cases, such in labs, graduate students are given a general template in which they must follow.

“The lab course has a comprehensive final is that first all the material builds upon the material from earlier in the course. In order to understand Australopithecine morphology it is necessary to also understand human morphology and genetics which were covered earlier in the course and so on,” Joshua Clementz, Anthropology Lab graduate student and professor.

However, the lecture that corresponds with the anthropology lab has a final which covers the last two chapters.


“My final is not cumulative by choice because of the vast amount of material covered and because it would minimize the material covered in the last quarter of the course,” said Dr. Micheal Pante, anthropology professor.

Class to class, the structure of a final can vary. A final can help you raise your grade or can lower it.

“Finals tend to keep me at the same grade, they maintain (my grade) for me,” said Anna Willie, sophomore biology major.

So, CSU students make a statement, finish the semester strong.

Collegian Reporter Josephine Bush can be reached at