The Truth Behind Finals, 2020 Version

Finals, something every student dreads from the beginning of the year. Due to the circumstances this year’s finals are going to be much different from previous years.  Teachers throughout the high school are deciding amongst themselves whether their class will take it or not. All seniors are able to test out of their final depending on their SAT scores from the beginning of the year, while this isn’t anything new from previous years.

Finals used to be a mandatory thing in past years.  Due to the new learning techniques many students are learning at home, as well as taking tests at home.  Because of these challenging times, teachers are unsure whether a final is necessary for their class or not. 

English teacher Mrs. Rosenthal explains why she is making finals a mandatory thing for her students this year.  “The main reason I am still continuing with giving finals to my classes is because finals serve as an assessment for the overall semester, this is a strong indicator to see what knowledge and skills students have retained and what areas might need to be revisited next semester,” explained Rosenthal. “Of course this is quite a different year as far as testing goes, and the obstacles have been taken into consideration when creating my final, I believe my students will be successful as long as they put forth the effort.”

History teacher Mr. Knight provides information why he isn’t making a final mandatory for his class. “Finals this year are hard to coordinate with remote and in-person learning, which can be hard to assemble,” explained Knight. “We also have a non traditional schedule, for example no three day finals week,” said Knight. 

Both teaching techniques this year are fit for their classroom and what each teacher thinks is best for their class.

How are seniors able to opt out of finals you may ask?  Guidance counselor Mrs. Deppe explains the guidelines seniors have to meet to get out of their finals for the semester.  “Seniors need to score a 540 on both the math and English portions of the SAT, there then is a longer report that we run to see the scores of science and history, ” explained  Deppe. “Each student can earn four opportunities to opt out of tests and each opportunity is then doubled, therefore if you achieved the score on math and English, but not on history and science you would have earned two scores, which would be doubled into four finals to opt out of, ” stated Deppe.  “If a student is taking an AP, dual credit, online or CTE course they may not opt out of those finals, teachers also may require that all students take their finals as well, ” said Deppe. 

The seniors feel more motivated throughout the school year knowing they can get out of their finals depending on how they do on their SAT.  

Senior Kylie Brown explains her motivation throughout the school year knowing she can opt out of finals depending on her SAT score. “I knew that if I wanted to opt out of my finals, that I would have to focus and do my best to improve on the SAT, ” explained Brown. “Although this was a lot of pressure it helped me succeed in the long run.”