--gave my first one ever on Thursday. It's a great idea--my colleague has done so for years, and there is definitely wisdom in having the kids review all they have learned since September. But it's tricky--fifty points could really impact a grade. So I threw in an optional handout with ten extra questions which could only help them.
What ten points amounts to is one homework assignment: one out of over forty. So, really, it wasn't going to impact their grade so much as inflate the outcome of this single test. In my challenge class, sixteen of thirty-six kids got A's! But the gorgeous thing is that so many of them had never seen that shiny letter atop a test. There were grins everywhere! "Can I take this test home to show my mom?"
There was V., who had a rough start--drop the euphemisms: he had about a 50% early on. His work was spotty all semester, but he raised it to the D- border. With some last ditch hoo-rah-ing, he began to turn in quality work and he turned in all his late work (for half credit, of course). And then on this test he earned a C+! Who knew V. had such a gorgeous smile! I gave him a hug, so glad, and remarked, "Man! All your hard work is paying off! Imagine if you had started the semester like this!" And he replied, "Next semester I'm gonna keep that A we start with--I'm gonna do all my work and everything!"