My AP insists that we give uniform finals in the math department. That is because he doesn't trust our judgement to give an exam that is fair, not too hard and not to easy. After years and years of doing this, he has finally come to see the same problems with this policy that teachers have seen for years.
1. Our school is on a 12 period day. Since teachers only work an 8 period day, we often never even speak to people teaching a different section of the same subject. I, for one, don't know what the other teachers have emphasized and can only hope that my kids are prepared for the exam.
2. Because I don't usually see the exam until right before it is given, I find that I sometimes give the same exact problems as practice problems during the week. Not a very sound testing policy.
3. My AP thinks he can stop cheating by giving two forms of the exam--one for periods 1 - 6 and other for periods 7 - 12. By the time the kids came into my 9th period class, they knew all the problems on the exam (of course too many still fail). One of my top students even asked me how to do one of the problems right before the exam.
My AP plans on asking Principal Suit for two days at the end of next semester to be devoted to final exams. Although this might prevent cheating, I'm not crazy about this idea either. How can we expect kids to do well when using this procedure they will be subjected to two to four exams a day?