The Scratching Post

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Students of all ages should benefit from senior exemption policy

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“Finals week” is a universally understood phrase. By simply reading them, those two words conjure up thoughts of Quizlet flashcards, all nighters and visits to the RogerHub Final Grade Calculator. Because of the stress they induce, most students dislike finals, but there are some ways to get out of them.

Finals are meant to be a cumulation of everything a student has learned in the class; they are the determination of whether or not a student has gotten the required knowledge from the course. However, this is also the purpose of AP exams. This is the first way to exempt from a final. If a student is taking an AP exam for a class in the spring, he or she can exempt from the spring final, as the student has already taken an exam that measures his or her understanding of the course.

The other way to exempt from a final is to be a senior. If a senior has an A going into the last final of the class in question 一 the only final of a one-semester class, or the second final of a two-semester class 一 that student does not have to take the final and will end the class with the A.

Exempting from finals provides benefits to students outside of the obvious fact that they don’t have to take a final. As I stated previously, final exams are one of the largest stress-inducers of in high schoolers. Letting students exempt from some finals alleviates some of that pressure and allows them to dedicate more focus to other subjects.

Exempting from finals also incentivizes students to try harder during the year. Danny Wizceb (12) is exempting from all but three finals this semester.

“It gave me the motivation to keep my grades up so I wouldn’t have to take any finals this semester,” Wizceb said.

Many other students see the benefits of exempting from finals, but feel as if more than just seniors should be allowed to exempt.

Mia Soto (9) will not be exempting from any finals this semester, but plans to exempt from her AP Human Geography final next semester. She doesn’t think only seniors should be experiencing the benefits of exemptions.

“I think the exemptions guidelines are a little bit restrictive. I think everyone with an A in the class should be allowed to exempt from the final,” Soto said.

Those in favor of final exams, especially teachers and administrators, often see these finals as preparatory. Mr. Erickson predominantly teaches to seniors, so he is familiar with the process of exempting from finals. He also sees these tests as important to preparing students for their futures.

“When [students] get to college, they’re going to have these exams that could count for 40 percent of their grade, and they might not have the tools to study for a comprehensive final,” Erickson said.

This makes for a good point. The vast majority of Vernon Hills students go to college, so not preparing them for those finals would set them up for failure. However, just because students will take finals in college does not mean that they should have to take a final for every class they take in high school.

The rules of finals exemptions that are applied to seniors should be applied to all students. Students would still be preparing for college as they would be taking finals, but they wouldn’t be subjected to the stress of taking a final for every class they are in.

By making these changes, the school could change “finals week” from a stress-fueled nightmare of sleep deprivation to what it should be: a week that gauges students’ knowledge and prepares them with important study skills that they will need in the future.

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