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Final exams required for all students

As it gets closer to the end of the first semester, many students and teachers have been discussing the situation for finals this year.

At the end of the 2022-23 school year, seniors were exempt from finals in classes that they had at least 80% in for the second semester. After the implementation of this rule, further discussion arose this year surrounding the idea of final exemption. 

Some students were told they would be exempt from taking finals in classes that they had at least 80% in for the first semester.

 “One of my teachers told us that we would not have to take finals if we had an 80% or higher,” senior Stella White said. 

This year, it was rumored that juniors would also be included in this final exemption. 

“My Spanish teacher initially told us there was an opportunity to be exempt from taking finals,” junior Jake Lee said. 

Shortly after news spread about not having to take finals, teachers received emails informing them that all students will take final exams for the first semester. Hearing this contrasting information confused many students who thought they would not have to take final exams.

“I think it made it worse that students got their hopes up that we would not have to take finals and then it got switched,” White said.

In order to understand the decision, it is important to look at the reasoning for why this choice was made.

“We had to consider if there was enough notice, such as did teachers plan or not plan for it, so a lot of it was regarding just communication and pre-planning,” Assistant Principal Reilly Harmeyer said. 

When making the decision for finals, it was very important that the staff was all on the same page.

“The decision regarding finals had not been communicated in a way where everyone knew the expectations and logistics of how it was going to work, and this close to final exam week, there were a lot of moving pieces that had not been considered before people had mentioned the exemptions,” Spanish teacher Erin Lizer said.

Differing opinions made it difficult to come to a decision in such a short amount of time.

“There are lots of strong opinions across the board, so there is a lot of debate on what decision to make and I believe that is why there was not able to be a consensus to exempt students from finals this semester,” Harmeyer said. 

Last year’s finals plan also greatly influenced the decision made this year. 

“This decision was sort of mirroring last year’s plan where all students took finals in the first semester, but seniors with above an 80% were not required for the second semester,” Harmeyer said.

Many students do not enjoy taking finals as they find it stressful to study so much content for multiple different classes. 

“I think finals put a lot of unneeded stress on students, so I don’t really see the point,” White said. 

“I don’t like the idea of taking finals, especially for AP classes, because you have already taken the AP exam by the end of second semester,” Lee said.

The process of administering finals can also alter peoples’ opinions of them.

“The way we have to administer exams with the hour and a half study period tends to be a really long and exhausting day, so especially for the second exam, students and teachers get worn out quickly,” Lizer said. 

Some students and teachers were also unhappy with the idea that only students with an 80% or higher in a class would be exempt from the final exam.

“I think exemptions for certain students just furthers the inequities that we see in this building between specifically honors and AP students and non honors and non AP students,” Lizer said.

It is expected that there will be more discussion concerning finals moving forward.

“Based on student and teacher input from this first semester, there will probably be more discussion on whether being exempt from finals should be a both semester situation for future years,” Harmeyer said.

As the decision stands, all students will take final exams for the first semester. However, as this year follows the layout of last year, it is expected that seniors with above an 80% in their classes may likely be exempt from finals next semester.

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Ava Parker, Entertainment Editor
Ava Parker is a junior and this is her second year on the staff. She likes to play tennis and is a part of Best Buddies, Earth Club and Student Council. In her free time, Parker enjoys spending time with family and friends. 
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