Every school I've worked in has had a "finals week." Sadly, I have to admit that until now, I never stopped to consider why they do this.
What is the purpose of a course final?
If assessment informs instruction---how would a final accomplish this? The class is over. It isn't as if the teacher can use the information for remediation purposes.
If the assessment is "practice" for college (for high school kids) or high school (for junior high tots), then is that a suitable purpose? Most kids aren't going to college...and while one might argue that a test may be required here and there for vocational certifications, can we really claim that taking a final is a life skill?
If we claim that it is a rite of passage or some sort, tradition, or "that's just the way it is," are those valid reasons?
Last year, I used The Final as the last ditch attempt opportunity for kids. They identified which standards still needed mastery and then only addressed those. They could choose an in-class opportunity on the allotted day of the final...or identify an alternative assessment that was due on the appointed time. All of this could only help them.
Is there a legitimate educational purpose (even for colleges) to have a final exam for a class?