The Future of Finals


Greta Yauch, Managing Editor

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, midterms and final exams have been postponed again, and again. Half of the school has never taken midterms or finals. As our school begins to return to normal, the question has arisen: are we going to have final exams? While COVID-19 isn’t the main issue at the moment, many have questioned whether final exams are necessary even without the issue of COVID-19, and how they may be detrimental to the well-being of students.

Despite the concerns, Karl Francis, the current principal of YHS, says that we are “likely to have some form of finals this year.” Teachers and the administration have had extensive meetings to discuss this question. According to Francis, “The Department Leadership Team met last Wednesday, March 16th and this was discussed. Teachers are currently discussing this topic in their departments and we will be meeting again on April 6th as a DLT to discuss the feedback that they received from teachers and hopefully make a determination at that meeting.”

There are many factors that need to be considered when determining whether or not the school will have finals. Many teachers and students feel that whether final exams will happen should be decided by each individual teacher. Finals might be more helpful and valuable for some subjects than for others. Matt Rosenberg, an English teacher here at YHS, explains, “For a lot of teachers, they are a waste of eight school days…I only give two tests a year when I am required to, otherwise testing is not really a part of my curriculum.” On the other hand, Matt Convery, a math teacher here at YHS, notes, “I think that finals have value for students who aspire to go to college.”

Clearly, finals make sense in some classes but not all, which is why many think it should be up to the individual teacher. Mr. Francis says he and the Department Leadership Team are considering this. He explains, “We will gauge how effective that [method] was for midterms as part of the decision making process.”

Some seniors may be wondering if they might be possibly exempt from finals based on their grade in individual classes. In the past, seniors with a 93 or better were exempt from the final in that class. This possibility will be discussed in the next Department Leadership Team meeting on April 6th.

Even though COVID-19 was the original reason that our system of finals was disrupted, this pause from final exams has prompted many to question the reasons why we have finals and how that system might be improved. Mr. Francis expresses, “The DLT did request that we take a look at our current Finals Week at school. They have requested that we have a larger scale look at the pros and cons of our current practice and potentially consider other ideas for future school years.” The administration and Department Leadership Team are working to come to a consensus on the best form of finals for York High School.