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Is It The Final Countdown For Traditional Final Exams?

May 15, 2019 GMT

Think back to the many grueling hours you spent preparing for final exams last year. This time is once again upon many of us across the country. Finals are responsible for multiple nights of late night studying that can lead to a lack of sleep, anxiety and stress. The idea of retesting on all of the material learned during a whole school year (or sometimes a half a year) is daunting. Many students look at final exams as a waste of time, time that could be better spent on learning more new material. Unlike state standardized testing, (which is another can of worms that eat into an already busy school year), finals are not a state requirement — so cutting them would give teachers more time to thoroughly cover both old and new lessons. If teachers didn’t have to dedicate time to finals, they could continue to teach and move on to other material that would help to better prepare students for the upcoming school year. These end-of-the-year tests suck a countless number of hours out of students who have already been tested on the material and have to do it again just because this is how it has been done for decades. Many students are up for the change to get rid of finals. When asked his opinion on finals, Wyoming Area sophomore Michael Javer said, “Finals are just more stress added onto a student’s already busy schedule. They count as something that you learned for the second half of the year and are relatively difficult. They can very much decide whether somebody fails or not for that semester.” The stress really does get to a student. Having too many finals all at once can lead to breakdowns and failing grades in multiple classes. Many students cannot handle the stress and will not be able to even hand in completed final papers. Finals are obsolete because they are counted as just another test grade at most high schools — compared to being a separate grade like they were in the past. Wyoming Area Secondary Center students and teachers are split on this topic because some teachers have opted to ditch finals in recent years. Wyoming Area History Department Chair Maureen Pikas said, “I believe these exams are a great preparation for post-secondary education. However, midterms and finals put much stress on both high school students and teachers. Students are bombarded with multiple exams at once. Teachers have to make sure all their curriculum is complete by their assignment times and with snow days and other school activities that disrupt the day, it can be difficult. It can be too rushed, and not every student is a great ‘test taker’.” While some teachers find finals a waste of time, others have stood by them and continue to have their students take them. Students in these classes with finals usually find them the most difficult and stressful compared to classes without. The common goal for everyone should be to find better ways of testing students for the overall benefit of our students. The extinction of finals is just another step in the right direction. Zachary Houston is a sophomore at Wyoming Area High School. Student columns are published Wednesdays during the school year.