Students support alternative finals

Amara Rivera, Field Reporter

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As the end of the fall semester approaches quickly, begins the start of finals. Despite having break after finals, those last three days of school are a students Achilles heal. Students begin studying up to two weeks before finals, hoping they can retain the information that they learned over the fall semester.

It is arguable whether finals should be mandatory if the student has a good grade. Mr. Smyth, argues against that idea “In college, they have finals that are worth an average are 50 percent or more of your grade. And since Mater Dei, is a college prep school, we need to prepare our students for the transition into college. Therefore, we need final exams to do so. If we didn’t have finals to prepare students for college, not having finals in high schools is just going to make the transitioning into college even harder than it already is.”

Finals are meant as a way for teachers to see how much information students have retained within the semester and what they need to spend more time on teaching. Although, students like Rubi Giron say that finals due cause them a lot of stress, “It’s so much information to remember in a small period of time. Your grade depends on that final score. Let’s say I worked really hard to get a 90 in my history class but now, my grade is in jeopardy because of the final. If I don’t get an A on the final, my grade drops. It really gets to you and makes you doubt all the work you’ve accomplished.”

Giron isn’t the only student on campus who feels like this. A fellow junior, Austin Hobbs, says “I have to stay up really late studying and then I start stressing out because, will I really remember all of this the next day or two? We have two finals in less than 4 hours and each one has at least one hundred questions. It’s a lot to handle and too much to remember. It gets really overwhelming.”

Stress and anxiety are major factors that can lead students to taking unhealthy alternatives to help them cope with approaching finals. While removing final exams all together seems unlikely, other options are available.

Mr. Brooks has considered projects versus tests. He explains, “I don’t see a problem with swapping out finals for a semester project as long as it incorporates all the elements that were taught throughout the semester. I think it would be fun for you guys [the students] to be able to do projects instead of finals. There should be a clearly defined rubric given prior to the project due date so students are able to prepare.”

 

Students like Anisa Esparza, would support projects or exams, “I really like the idea of having quarter projects, portfolios instead of these long written out tests. I think that more hands on learning in schools can help us develop more and become better prepared for adulthood.”

Aranza Rivera, who takes Guitar says, “For our final, we have to do a piece. You get to choose whatever song you want as long as it is approved by Mr. Rosales.”

Rivera enjoys the project more than traditional tests because, “It is fun being able to actually show what you’ve learned and not having to explain how much you’ve learned.”

For now, most students will be taking final exams next week, but in the future things may look different.

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