Unsigned Editorial: Finals Before Break Would Better Student Performance

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Unsigned Editorial: Finals Before Break Would Better Student Performance

Michael Pruchanskiy

Michael Pruchanskiy

Michael Pruchanskiy


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   Three days. Six subjects. The end of first semester. That’s right, we just survived that dreaded time of year again — finals. The tests of all tests. The only thing that determined whether your grade stayed at that infuriating 89.4 percent or got bumped up to that 90 you so desperately hoped for. As the calendar on the UC High official website states, this year’s first semester finals were held on Wednesday, January 23 through Friday, January 25 (sandiegounified.org). We had our typical two periods per day, two hours each. And, as per usual, we had Winter Break three weeks before finals.

    Finals are not a requirement set by the District, but rather the school. As a result, there are no specific dates on which finals are required to be held. While we understand that finals are placed at the end of the first semester for logistical reasons, we at The Commander propose that next year they should be moved to before Winter Break. First semester will of course still end mid to late January, so as not to mess with our school start date, but finals should be pushed up. That way, if need be, students could also use those extra two or three weeks left of the semester for raising their grades after the final.

   Studying for something with such a heavy influence over your grade is always stressful. Add in a (much needed) two-week break where you forget everything you’ve learned and it’s a recipe for an emotional breakdown. By moving finals to before Winter Break, it wouldn’t just take some stress off students, but teachers too. They would have more time to grade finals before semester grades are due.

    Junior Tavin Perry went to Horizon Christian Academy her freshman year, where they take their first semester finals before Winter Break. Having taken finals both before and after a break, she concluded that it’s much easier to take finals before break. She said, “I would definitely rather take finals before break than after. I think it’s way harder to take finals after a two-week break, because I’m not able to remember things we’ve learned, especially things from the beginning of the year. It adds more stress for taking finals.”

   While some might argue that we should not have to take finals at all, there are benefits to cumulative testing. According to a website about higher education teaching strategies, “An exam with questions on current and previous content encourages continued interaction with course material, and the more students deal with the content, the better the chances they will remember it.” For students taking Advanced Placement classes with AP tests at the end of the year, finals are a great way to prepare. “Good and plentiful research documents that students taking cumulative exams during the course score significantly higher when given content exams after the course is over” (facultyfocus.com). Additionally, cumulative tests and finals in high school prepare us for college, where finals and midterms are a large part of your grade.

       We at The Commander recognize that there are benefits to taking finals and are not suggesting that we get rid of them. We’re merely suggesting we take them before Winter Break.

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