Teachers Versus Finals

All teachers have a different opinion on final exams. Finals are tests that give students the opportunity to show growth over a semester of a class.

General teacher opinion on finals

Parker and Marandah

General teacher opinion on finals

Parker Anderson, Staff Writer

Teachers are just now starting to give details about everyone’s favorite time of year, finals week. Students seem to have very strong opinions about finals, but nobody ever asks how the teachers feel. As winter final exams approach, teachers are giving more details about what the exams will be like. Just like winter snowflakes, no final is exactly the same per department, as every department of teachers in the school has different ideas and opinions on finals.

Finals give students the opportunity to show growth and share the knowledge they have, because it is an exam that addresses the standards and benchmarks of a class. Finals are 15% of a student’s grade, although they used to be 20%. The decision of the weight was made by Vice Principal Jerry Stratton. “It was a balance to teach students the idea of getting ready to prepare for when they are a freshmen in college,” Stratton said.

The health department focuses on more presentation based projects, and make the final a presentation.  “I view our final exam as important because it is a cumulative project from all of the health topics we have had over the semester,” Health teacher Destiny Willer said.

As an overall, the foreign language department enjoys finals. “I like finals, I think they do a really good job at preparing you guys for college,” Spanish and French teacher Kari Gray said. “I don’t like that the final is only 15% of your grade because most of my students have it figured out that since it does not really affect your grade, they think that they just need to get a certain score, and I feel like they should just do well and not focus on what grade they need to get.”

World Studies is part of the history department, but only sophomores take it. The history department feels indifferent. “It is interesting,” World Studies teacher Tyler Miklo said. “I think with all of the changing practices that we are trying to implement, it might be a little bit more of an old school take about cumulative finals. I do think that we need to be able to prove that we are learning the important concepts, some sort of final is necessary.”

Most language arts teachers feel the same way about finals. “I think that they are kind of silly,” Integrated language arts teacher Matt Lakis said.  “If you have been doing the work, and all my other tests that we have been doing in class are accurate, then we should already know what you are able to do, I should not have to figure it out with one day, one test, and that represents everything that you know. Everything we have been doing in class is just as important.”

Recently, there has been a lot of talk about standard based grading, which is where after a class would finish a unit they would keep going back to that unit and so on. “If we switched to standard based grading, which we already have in Chemistry, and I am already assessing you throughout the semester on your proficiency on various standards, why should I have to assess you again, at the very end of the semester, when you have already forgotten everything!” Chemistry teacher Jennifer Lehman said.

A lot of teachers seem to get conflicted about finals and their general opinions on finals, but not Integrated Langauge Arts and Basic Skills teacher Christine Wolford.  “Finals are goofy for me,” Wolford said. “I am more about how they get there, not when they get there. Telling someone they have to memorize everything and know it all by this date, is not okay to me.”

While their opinions on giving finals are different, they all feel the same about the way students need to approach them. Teachers from different departments around the school would like all of the students to stop cramming for finals. They all said that students needed take time to study and prepare. “Do not cram,” Gray said. “We as high school teachers do a pretty good job at giving study guides, and help sessions. Take advantage of the dragon times. You should know what will be on the test, you will be fine.”