Eliminating final exams has little benefit

Abigail Waechter | Managing Editor

Is the elimination of final exams just what we needed?

The answer to this: I have no idea. 

The whole point behind eliminating final exams, according to the school, is to avoid penalizing students who may have been quarantined during the fall semester and to encourage a personalized learning track. 

To students, this seems as if it makes perfect sense. We will be applying the skills that we have learned in a way that is supposed to be a less stressful assignment than a 120 multiple-choice test that is 15% of our grade. 

But I’m still drowning in work. 

Projects, timed writings, and cumulative assessments are buzzing through the learning plans, and don’t get me wrong, I’m all for doing something at the end of the semester, but not on top of multiple other assignments too. 

Teachers are finishing out units and creating assessments that would typically show up on the final instead of the last unit assessment because of the elimination of a final week schedule. On top of that, they are also creating cumulative assessments or projects for students to complete during the last week of school before winter break, and no one can say “is this too much?” because we don’t know. 

It feels like we are cramming so much material in at the last minute to the point where the new final exam perspective’s purpose is narrowly defeated. 

We haven’t encountered the “no final exams” dilemma before, and it’s overwhelming. The elimination of the finals week, in my opinion, needed to be communicated to teachers way before it was. Teachers needed more time to discuss and create a plan on how to assess students’ learning after the material for the semester was taught and completed to avoid the uneasiness between students and their semester one grades. 

When students take finals, they play the number game. And although administration and teachers alike despise it, we calculate what we need on each exam to keep or get the grade that we want in the class. While part of that is stressful, it’s more relaxing, for me at least, to go into a test knowing that I can bomb it and still have a satisfactory grade at the end of the day. Final projects, however, can affect a category grade, which to me, is a lot more stressful. 

In all honesty, I would rather take a final than have to assemble a project or study for a cumulative assessment with three weeks’ notice.