I have abandoned the giving quizzes in Sports Law because I’ve figured out something about law students. They are now classically conditioned to having a single final exam.
Personally, I am convinced this is the exactly the wrong way to teach and test all but the most self-motivated of students. When you have a final exam in December, it is hard to focus and keep up. Law students, at least, second and third-year law students, tend to deal with what is directly in front of them. An exam in December might as well be a test in three years.
Even for the motivated, I think “final exam only” testing harms the best students. First, you are leaving too much to chance. Even Clayton Kershaw has a bad day. The good student wants to mitigate that risk by having more bites and the apple and more testable question. How many questions can one exam ask? I remember taking an exam that had two questions on the entire exam What if I messed up the material on one of those questions? Is that a good sample size of how well you knew all the materials. It would be like CNN taking a presidential election poll and asking three people.
So I just don’t think a final only exam accurately captures student comprehension of the material. So why do I do it? My classes have overwhelmingly stated a preference for a final instead of intermediate testing along the way. I’m view students as my clients. I need to give them what they want. You want final exams? You are going to get them. But I think it is a bad idea.