Possibility of Final Exemptions in Quakertown High school
All throughout the school year, students are assigned homework, exams, and various types of projects. At the end of the year, these can pose as a type of “final” or final exam. The purpose of a final exam is to test the retainment of the content across the term. Some high schools in our area, like North Penn and Upper Perkiomen, offer exemptions from the final exam if students meet certain requirements. Some of these may include attendance, a certain classroom grade, and a good behavioral record. For different students, there will be positives and negatives to taking a final exam in school, but preserving each students mental heath and best interest should be the primary focus.
Gaining an exemption from a final exam usually means that a student has performed to their best ability through the year, resulting in a high year grade. By making finals optional, students have an incentive to give more effort in their classes, possibly ending in a better overall understanding of the content and material.
Currently, Quakertown’s school board and department is dicsussing the possibility of final exam exemtpions for the next school year, under certain criteria. PawPrints wanted to aid this decision to be made, so we sent out a survey to the school body, grades 9th-12th. In total, 92% of students say that final examps are not beneficial to take in school. They elaborated, explaining that, “You take tests after you’ve learned everything already. It places extra unnecessary stress on students and effects the final year grade tremendously. The final being 10% of your final grade doesn’t always reflect you as a student and can impact your letter grade if you’re on the cusp.”
“I strive to be an A+ student and finals have only made me more stressed than I already am. Because of the finals, I… will receive a B in many of my classes, but if finals were not required I would have all a’s. I know you might say ‘well a B is still a very impressive grade’ but for me who wants to get into a very good college I need as many A’s as humanly possible. These A’s I feel are diminished by finals.”
“Learning should NOT be about memorizing things from September, but should be used to create life skills. Finals are a stress filled time and can make or break a students grade depending on their grade”
When students were asked, “In the past, have your final exam grades reflected your year grades?”, only 10.2% said all of their past finals were an accurate representation of what their grade should’ve been. For the other 90%, there has been at least one final exam that has effected their grades in a negative way. In order to get elaborationons from the previous question, PawPrints asked, “Have final exams made your grades go up or down? Explain the situation.” We received an assortment of 244 responses, some of which including, “Final exams do not reflect my grades at all. Last year, my freshman year, I ended with strait A’s in all honors and Ap classes; however, on my final exams, I scored an average of 65-75%.”
“Both up and down, because I ( and most students) are better at one subject than another. We have an easier time understanding certain subjects and being able to remember what the teachers are teaching us.”
“I work really hard in a class and believe my teacher grades extremely hard. All of my hard work and when I don’t do good on a final, it drops my grade by a letter and discards all of my hard work for the course. It doesn’t reflect my work ethic or knowledge that I have gained.”
“I don’t think a grade has ever gone up from a final exam. It’s more often that they will go down by a percentage point or two because I have trouble remembering information and taking long tests in general”
“Down, even some of my teachers have said that the average grade students get on the finals are lower then a 75% and even an average of 65%. If all students are testing this low, I believe it is more then the students “fault” for not passing.”
The benefits of final exams may show a deal of progress, understanding, and retainment, yes, but the negatives that come with administering final exams prove to outweigh the positives. Students at Quakertown High school seem to strive for greatness, but all of their hard work cannot be disregarded when they do not achieve their best grade on an exam which covers all of the content in a year. Benefits of the students should be the top priority, preserving their hard work and displaying it in a way that accentuates their excellence. By making final exams an optional opportunity, students looking to get their grades up can thrive, and those looking to keep their grades from dropping may be able to ensure that.