Everything you've written here is correct, and I don't think you're pointing out anything here that many people haven't observed before, yet this is not the way it's done. So there must be a pretty good reason why not.

I'll suggest it's the same reason many people live hand-to-mouth and get paid weekly.

Many people - maybe most - aren't good at planning for the future, or sacrificing things now for a distant reward. Without a short-term incentive to study hard (regular exams and graded homework), many won't. When the end of the term comes and the final exam looms, they'll try to cram, but won't learn or retain as much as if they'd been studying all along. Regular exams do more than give feedback on how the student is doing - they provide continual incentive that's otherwise missing.

A separate but perhaps related question is why people attend school at all, rather than just read books and practice what they learn (in the fields where that's a reasonable thing to do). I'm sure some people learn better from live lectures, but many - most? - need the structure and grade incentives to motivate them to put in the effort to learn things.

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Unfortunately, from a when-to-test-knowledge basis, rather than cramming for each individual exam/quiz along the way, I think you've just replaced it with incentivizing cramming just before the final exam and/or between retakes, and then still forgetting everything just afterwards.

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Interesting concept. Instead of contesting your main claim (that "a system of repeated comprehensive exams worth 100% of a student’s grade is a more ethical and accurate way of evaluating student’s knowledge") I'd like to hear your response to a couple of practical concerns with this proposal in higher education:

1. Course length: Instead of losing the last ~1-2 weeks to exams, under your proposed system you'd lose 3-5 weeks. That means less instruction per course.

2. Grading curves: If a course is graded on a curve (which has its advantages), you have no way of knowing if your early final exam scores are good enough for you to accept.

Maybe your proposed system would be better suited to high school, where you have more class time to work with and where grading curves are uncommon?

(One trouble with the article's main claim is that this system might result in a sort of "race-to-the-bottom" effect where every student is forced through 3-5 weeks of high-stakes finals instead of 1-2 weeks, because otherwise their grades will look worse in comparison. I admit, however, that the students would likely learn more than they do today in that situation. Would need to think this over more.)

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One big problem with this is that a single test is noisy. Having a few smaller tests is a much more accurate measurement of a student's ability.

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