Altercating the nature of final exams


Lesly Hernandez, Staff Writer

Every year, teachers hear their students complain about finals and how stressful they can be. 

This year, however, has proven to be way different than any other school year. With distance learning and the ungodly amount of stress and anxiety that the pandemic brought upon us all, finals this year just seem like the last thing students want to add to their schedule.

Students with an A in their class should be given the option to opt-out of the final because this option would make the hard work throughout the year to get that A feel worthwhile. The option would encourage other students to want to achieve that A, and students are already given other exams throughout the school year to test their knowledge and assessment for the lectures.

As a result of the virtual learning environment, finals this year are going to be different and more challenging. This environment causes teachers to either assign an actual cumulative final, a project because it’s easier for students in this circumstance or simply just not assign a final. 

Imagine having tests on the various units throughout the year, passing the tests as well as the homework assignments, and then having to take a cumulative test on everything you have learned for that class in a year.

It would just be stressful and make absolutely no sense for teachers to do such a thing because the unit tests are already testing one’s knowledge and comprehension of the topic. 

Also, most high school students have six or even eight classes total, meaning that they have to study and memorize so many different topics for their other classes as well. This would undeniably leave a toll of stress on that student.

Some may argue that finals are significant and should be required for high school students regardless of the situation this country and the whole rest of the world are going through because it’s a way of proving whether or not students are understanding the material being taught. 

Nonetheless, setting in place a rule that requires such a harsh test for students who are already juggling so much on their plate is not right.

For instance, Gunderson High School teacher Genice Weathers, who teaches World Geography and AP World History, expresses her views on a final exam for high school students. 

“I think that some kind of an assessment to see if you understood the information is appropriate, but in the form of a final exam, I’m not convinced that it’s the best choice to show your knowledge,” Weathers said.

This puts things into perspective because some teachers agree on the fact that there should at least be a type of assessment to evaluate a student’s knowledge on a topic, just not a big final exam. 

Overall, final exams are not a truly capable manner to test and evaluate whether or not a student has surpassed and understood the material in the class.

I strongly encourage teachers to reconsider assigning final exams or at least consider giving their students the option to opt-out of the final exam if they have an A or above for that class. It would benefit everyone in the situation, and just like Weathers personally believes, “finals hurt you more than they help you and that’s not what should happen at the end of the year.”