Students’ Opinions on Finals Cancellation

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Now that finals have been canceled by the Howard County Board of Education, students across the county can breathe a sigh of relief.
Students who have taken finals before know that they are a source of stress for many high schoolers. Studying and preparing for the lengthy exams can take a toll on a student’s mental health. In addition, some students think that finals create a rather boring end of the year.
“Finals always made the end of the year feel less special,” Dylan Buchwald said, a senior.
“Instead of it just being the end of the year and that’s that, we instead had to take a huge test, and everyone would be freaking out… I’m super pumped that there will be no finals this year and I think it will reflect positively on my final grades.”
Many other Marriotts Ridge students share Buchwald’s sentiments. Finals cause unwanted stress and make the end of the year feel much more stressful than it should be. Before high school year, the end of the school year had a certain excitement around it, especially since there was limited work and multiple half days consisting of fun activities. However, this is not always true in high school. The end of the year carries lots of worrying and stress. This vast difference in the atmosphere of the school and the attitude of the students is a direct result of final exam stress.
Cancelling finals may have benefits for students short-term, but it can also have long-term consequences. Studying for finals helps a person develop good studying habits and techniques for when they go to college.
“As I have planned and applied for college, it is evident that large cumulative tests will continue to be important gauges of our academic abilities,” Manaswee Mishra said, a senior. “Not being expected to be tested on information from various units may have detrimental effects in the long term.”
Finals can be advantageous since they typically cover a wide variety of the topics discussed in a class. As Mishra previously mentioned, the reinforcement of those key concepts can help a student understand the material better, and even prepare them for upcoming exams (AP, SAT, ACT).
Besides removing lots of stress from students, there are other reasons why students are relieved by the cancellation of finals.
“I know that it can be hard for students to get the same experiences that they would be getting if we were in the building, and for some kids that is a major disadvantage,” Grace Filson said, a senior. “Especially since a lot of classes are cramming a whole year’s worth of information into a few months.”
The new changes into virtual learning, including the new four by four schedule which makes classes only one semester long, has forced the Board of Education to devise a new grading system. With this new system, there is a greater emphasis on quarter grades. For example, if a student did not get a good grade in the first quarter, the new system allows him to improve the final grade without having to worry about finals.
“I like the new grading system without finals because it makes it easier to finish classes with a good grade, especially this year,” Johannes John said, a junior. “If we were to have finals, it would make it much harder to finish with a good grade, as finals would make up an even larger portion of your overall grade than before.”
In such a unique school year, cancelling finals seems to have resonated positively with most of the students. Although finals have their advantages, most students are relieved to know that they will not have to spend lots of time stressing and studying for their final exams.