What even are finals?

Alexis Sandoval, Journalist

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   A 98%! The perfect passing score for your finals, but why do we need to take finals every year for every class we take? This is a frequently asked question among students. To push some questions out of the way, teachers gave feedback to help us clear our foggy minds on finals.

  Well, what are finals anyway? They are a final test, or a final interview as some might call it. It’s given to students as a test to see if all the things they’ve learned really got stuck in their brain, or if it just went in one ear and out the other. Teachers usually test our skills from their class that semester.

  Kevin Gannon, a writer for The Chronicle of Higher Education, argues “Final exams are to see if our students learned anything in the course. Fair enough, but does one high-stakes assessment really give an accurate picture of that?” Well, they do see what we’ve learned, but a huge one test might not cover it all.

  The still leaves the question of what they’re really for. Are they to test our memory from the year or just another big test? Students tend to argue that we don’t need to take finals as they’re just another test while teachers say the opposite, they’re needing feedback on what information they have received this school year rather than what they still need to learn.

  Aryanna Ruiz, a freshman athlete participating in softball, said, “I think finals are kind of pointless because the students’ grades and class testing should tell all the information finals do.”

  Grades, class testing, and the classwork, they do all show either improvement or not. So are finals actually needed?

  Mrs. Thacker, a special education teacher, said “Finals for students are a good way to show mastery of concepts taught throughout the semester of the school year.”

  A teacher and their student obviously have two different opinions on taking finals. Teachers may not like to give a student a test but they are required to give one. While a teacher is required to give a student a final test some students think not.

  While Ruiz is a student and may not want to take a final, she said, ”yes, because that’s what schools use to create a students class schedule.” So maybe a student doesn’t like to take a test since we take them all year every year, she does agree that they are important.

  Even though she had said they were “kind of pointless,” she had also said “they do make up our future classes for the next school year.” The test might give feedback to the teacher on the students learning and their teaching itself. The test might also help placement into new classes such as an honors class or out of an honors class.

  Mrs. Thacker also said, “I think students should take finals. It is their opportunity to use the information learned and apply it.”

  Well, finals are annoying, but they give open opportunities. A student thinks of just the physical test itself while a teacher thinks of the real reasons a final is used. People can argue that there is no need but teachers have the better argument that we do.

 Maryellen Weimer, a writer for Faculty Focus, noted “It’s a good time to consider how we assess student knowledge in our courses.” She’s not wrong. Teachers really only test to “assess student knowledge.” For example, in math did we remember how to solve that equation? Well, yes because our finals test score proved that, but maybe instead of a final what could we test our knowledge with?

  Yes, they assess a student’s knowledge but surely they don’t want to give a student a final. Maybe they don’t want want to see a student “fail” or not see one blow through while another might struggle a little more. Who knows? A teacher would, but in order to see results you have to give the test.

  Ruiz not only said they’re “pointless” and they “create a student’s schedule,” but she also said, “they take forever and they are a lot of stress.”

  Mrs. Thacker’s final thoughts were,”Finals for every class are different and should be reflective of what the students have done throughout the semester.”

  It’s easy to say that if we took a poll, most would agree with it. Finals can take up to as long as 2 hours per test for all 6-7 classes. 2 hours for 7 different long test is stressful. Having to beat the timeline and finish with in 2 hours stresses students out and can cause them to lose their train of thought, but the time limit is reasonable enough that everyone makes the limit and still passes.

  Sure, finals could be either pointless or have meaning. Instead of stressing over finals, do your studying, get good sleep and food, and just do your thing. At the end of your high school career, finals will be all worth the stress, time, and headaches when you get that passing score.