OPINION: Finals Should Be Optional

Rory Zeman
National/World Editor
Imagine a world where the end of the school year wasn’t a poignant, stressful time of anguish as a result of final exams. This common feeling of distress is shared by almost every high schooler around the nation. For students with an A in the class, this can be especially irritating because they have worked so hard and then must relearn the subjects of such classes unnecessarily. Students with an A should be given the option of taking the final exam. That way they can divert the time they spend studying into a class in which they are struggling; they have already worked hard during the semester to achieve an A, and the final exams do little to reinforce the information that the student has already poured months into learning.
Another reason finals should be optional for students with an A in a class is that students who already have an A clearly do not need to prove their expertise in the subjects any further. Such tests only add additional stress on the student for no apparent reason and should be optional to the student unless they wish to increase their grade further.
Finals also do not represent how hard a student worked during the year or how many skills they acquired. Finals actually serve as an unnecessary memorization contest at the end of a semester, but don’t give any actual indication of the student’s abilities and skills they have picked up. Finals only show how good a student is at cramming information into their head in one night for one test, not how much lifelong knowledge they have obtained.
Although critics of this idea may argue that finals force students to memorize the topics they have learned throughout the year, this is simply untrue. When students must face up to six or seven finals within a week, they are solely focused on just cramming the information in one day, keeping the information for a day to perform at an optimal level for their exam, and then forgetting the information to make room for the next final. The process is unreasonable and gives students no opportunity to actually solidify what they have learned in the year because they are too focused on each exam at a time. However, if students with an A in some of their classes are able to opt out of the final exams in the classes they have been performing well in all semester, then they would have an elevated chance to consolidate their knowledge and learn in the classes they have struggled with more during the semester.
Students with an A in a class should be given the choice of whether or not they must invest hours of gratuitous studying into an exam in a class they have already performed well, which could potentially damage their well-earned grade in the class.

Categories: Opinion

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