None of the official Fuller curriculum-guidance documents require a final exam for any of classes I taught this quarter (Homiletics, Worship Theology & Praxis, Crafting Language). So I haven't given any. It ends up being a win-win: My students don't want to take one, and I don't want to write or grade one.
But there is a huge payoff, I discovered this week, to doing some sort of end-of-the-quarter assessment. That payoff is in finding out whether or not my students have learned anything in the past 10 weeks -- well, more specifically, whether anything they learned had anything to do with what I hoped they might learn.
And the miraculous, grace-filled answer is that they did. Did they ever! I spent a few hours -- really precious hours, as it turns out -- prompting a course review in each class, and then listening to the students identify the things they found most valuable in our reading and writing and thinking and discussing and praying and sharing. Stuff I was sure had sailed in one ear and out the other instead came right back to me in better form than I gave it out. Book recommendations I'd made off the cuff turned out to catalyze all kinds of other things they were learning outside of our class. Seeds I planted (seeds I myself received from others) are starting to bloom and these folks showed me their gardens. Woot! It's a good crop!
I left my last class thinking about the rewards of teaching. Yep. That's why I'm doing this. Good to get a reminder once in a while.