Reconsider Finals Format

Abbe Murphy, Editor In Chief

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It’s that time of the year again: finals. Time for countless late nights relearning material that you completely forgot since you learned it in February and trying to resist the urge to blow school off completely because of the approaching summer season. It’s obvious to say that finals are an overall stressful experience for students, but do they have to be?

Although getting rid of finals altogether could be considered, as of right now, finals are here to stay. However, teachers should consider alternative final exam formats to minimize the tendency of students being tested solely on their ability to memorize information and not their actual knowledge of the course.

In classes where the majority of tests throughout the year are multiple choice, such as certain social studies, having a final exam that is similar to assessments throughout the year makes sense. However, in classes where students’ semester grades are based off of more of variety of assignments like labs, essays, presentations, etc. teachers should consider altering their final to better suit how students were tested throughout the year.

Although the vast majority of colleges and universities rely on final exams and midterms to take up the majority of a student’s grades, this does not have to be the case in high school. Students are more likely to be able to accurately show their accumulated knowledge from a course through a multi-day project or other alternative assessments.

Just as knowledge for one class may not be best assessed through a written essay, some classes don’t work with a typical Scantron test. For most AP courses, the bulk of work is done before the AP exams in early June. Because of this, having another large standardized test at the end of the month seems pointless.

It seems unfair that, on average, 20% of a student’s class grade is derived from a single “sit-and-get” assessment. While the majority of the grade is accumulated throughout the year through a student’s hard work, an additional assessment at the end of the year does not match the progressive work ethic that is shown through the actual class grade.

No matter what, final exams will never be perfect. Everyone has different ways that they like to take tests, and it is hard to relearn all course materials for one test. Looking forward, teachers should keep an open mind and consider ditching the Scantron.