Physics petition fails to persuade Science Department

The science department today confirmed that all Physics A classes will take a final, even though dozens of students signed an online petition asking that the exam be tossed since the class’ workload is heavy.

“We plan to have a Physics A final. We think it is important,” AJ Scheetz, science department chair, said. “It [is] our best evaluation of how much physics students have learned over the year.”

Ken Asada ’15 began the petition on Monday; in it, Asada noted that a few weeks ago, students in the classes were assigned a project in which they had to teach themselves new physics concepts and apply these concepts by building something complicated and abstract.

“The whole philosophy behind this project is to promote the student lens and introduce new learning, which is fine,” Asada said in the description. “The problem is: in addition to completing this abstract and difficult project in a short period of time, we also have to take a cumulative final.”

In response to Asada’s petition, Scheetz said that the science department understands that this project is time-consuming; however, the department eliminated a portion of the year’s curriculum so time could be spent on the project.

“I think from the teacher’s perspective, it was a fair choice to make, and we took the students time and effort into account,” Scheetz said.

Despite the change in curriculum, students had not felt that they had enough time when they signed the petition on Monday night. For students, it has felt like lots of work. Justin Slosberg ’15 said he thinks that it is simply too much work for the students to complete the week before finals.

“Most people I’ve talked to are thankful they are even passing,” he said. “Sure, I think either a final OR a project would be appropriate, but doing both is really overrunning Physics A kids with more work than they signed up for.”

Although students who signed the petition were unsure of how the science department would react, they felt like it was worth a shot.

“At least we can say we tried,” Asada said on Monday night. “Because at the end of the day, as students, that’s all we can really do.”