A well crafted final is an opportunity to prove that you've mastered the course material. But, even in the most collaborative learning environments, finals force a sense of competition amongst students. This is most telling on the last day of class when many students show no interest in hearing answers to questions as soon as they learn that they won't be covered on the final. While outside my control, I wish more students would focus on solidifying their learnings instead of how to score best on the exam. Ideally, students should be confident that understanding will directly translate into high marks.
Tragically, these end-of-year Q&A sessions often turn adversarial. But, that's the antithesis of how we should want to culminate a semester. These sessions should be celebrations that excite us to keep pursuing the subject after the course is over.