The Final FlukeThe question of the necessity of final exams has been raised, the age old predicament of no test or test.
By: Julia Klein, East High School
At the end of each semester, students are asked to test their knowledge once more with the Mecca of all tests, the epitome of all their coarse work, the final chapter in their academic class. However, for some students, finals are just a breeze, a nonchalant exam, an opportunity to nap for an hour as soon as they blow by the questions. As a result, the question of the necessity of final exams has been raised, the age old predicament of no test or test.
In the Independent School District 709 (ISD 709) of Duluth, every high school teacher must administer a final exam for each course. “It very much prepares a student for college,” said Honors English Teacher Mrs. Knutsen. “I think it helps give students closure, I think it helps to wrap up the things that were learned.” This rule was created to ensure a proper preparation for college in a student’s high school years.
“I think it’s stupid to get tested on something we all ready were tested on,” said Junior Erik Carlson. “It makes no sense and just takes up time.” Each semester, East High School puts out a final exam schedule. In East, finals are a three day event. This year, finals will start on Friday, June fourth. Only one exam, the period 9 exam, will be given on that day. On Monday, June seventh, period 1, period 3/4 or period 4/5 will be given in the morning with an hour for lunch, school wide. Then students will resume with period 8 finals. On Tuesday, June eighth, period 2, period 5/6 or period 6/7 will comprise the morning. After an hour lunch, students will be officially dismissed with make- up exams in the afternoon. Period 0 final exams are administered over Monday, and Tuesday.
There is a point system established for finals and term grade to determine one’s final grade for the class. Over the course of three terms, four points is available to earn. An A is four, B three points, C is two points, and D is one point. For final exams, a final exam letter grade is worth half the points. Therefore, an A is two, a B is one point five, a C is one, and a D is point five. For all purposes and in all cases, an F is zero.
“I think it’s dumb,” said sophomore Nicole Giovanni. “People who get all As have to work harder than people who get all Bs on the final.” To earn an A as a final grade one must get anywhere between 14 points and 12.5 points. For a B, one must earn anywhere from a 12 to a 9. For a C, one must earn anywhere between an 8.5 to a 5.5. A D is between 5 and 3.5. An F is anything below a 3.
“I don’t think it serves a purpose,” said Giovanni. “I wish they would come up with a better way to do it.” So, for those that don’t like math, the system would seem flawed. One could fail their final exam and get a B in the class. For example, if a student gets three Bs over the course of the three terms, that student can fail their final and still get a B. But, if a student who has earned three As fails their final, that student ends up with a B for their final grade.
Students with good grades, let’s say straight As, see finals as a fluke. Most barely study, or prepare knowing that all they have to do is get a D, and they will be sailing to a perfect final grade of an A. Teachers get frustrated by this because they spend time creating, correcting, and corroborating grades. “However, I do think the point system needs to be correct. They serve no purpose for students who do very well in school, and for those who do poorly, they don’t try as hard,” said Mrs. Knutsen. “Students just know the statistics part of it to get by, but if that’s the way it is then I think finals are irrelevant.”