Opinion: All grade levels should have the option for final exemptions

Seniors at MCHS qualify for second-semester final exemptions. Why can’t all grade levels be offered the same?


Beth Brackmann

All grade levels have to study for second semester finals, while seniors that have met the requirements have not had to take their finals.

Hunter Blake, Staff Writer

A student who performed well in a class all semester and has the grade they wanted right before finals. Then they took the final and didn’t perform well, so their grade dropped to the next lowest grade. Unfortunately, this is a problem that a lot of students have to deal with at MCHS. Because of this issue, all students regardless of grade level should have the option for final exemption for semester two final exams at MCHS.

Final exams at MCHS happen during the last two days of both semesters at MCHS. These days are a time of stress and worry for students, as finals have the potential for grade drops and have little reward if students perform well on them. For example, if a student were to fail the final they have the potential for their grade to drop 10%, and if a student were to perform well on a final their grade might only increase by half a percentage point or not at all depending on their grade before the final. This is unfair to students who perform well during the whole semester in that certain class.

Students should have an option for finals exemption for semester 2 at MCHS due to the fact that finals often affect students’ grade point average in a negative way, even if they performed well in the class the rest of the semester.

According to mhscardinalchronicle.com, “[Finals] can obviously affect students’ GPA, which is a big part of getting into colleges for students who plan on attending universities. It could be potentially unfair for students who are hard workers if they happen to fail one test and then see that their GPA gets messed up, which puts them in the position of having to try and raise it again, which can be difficult.”

Students should have an option for finals exemption for semester two because the requirements students would need to meet for finals exemption would ensure that they have adequate attendance and are actively learning in that class. For example, our final exemption policy for students considers students attendance, overall grades, and overall discipline. If these same policies were given to all grade levels, students’ attendance and behavior would likely improve in their classes as students would want to meet the requirements to not take finals at the end of the school year. Students’ overall retention and remembrance of the information in their classes would likely improve too, as a problem of finals is that they force students to cram information at the end of the year and this causes them to not retain the information from their intense studying after exams finish.

Another reason is that finals bring frantic, last minute studying to students. This causes high stress levels and low self esteem come the day of the tests. The last week of school should be relaxing for students for all the hard work they put in the rest of the school year. Instead of having students reflect their learning experience through a multiple choice test at the end of the year, teachers could have students write a reflection on the experience of the class. With students so focused on the school year being over, many students are less likely to put the study time and effort in as they did in the first semester, and due to this finals become redundant as students are not focussed and putting forward their best efforts.

Some teachers and staff might argue that final exams are good preparation for future final exams that students will have to take in college. But students would still have to take finals once a semester at MCHS if finals exemption was offered to all grade levels. If students are able to make our exemption policy they most likely have the proper study habits and preparation for future exams. All students will not make our finals exemption policy, so students who need the extra preparation for future final exams due to poor grades or attendance will still have to take finals and build up their experience with future testing in college.

Finals should not have the opportunity to negatively impact student’s hard work they put in for their classes if the student meets the requirements for exemptions because of this students should have an option for finals exemption for semester two at MCHS.