Proposition: Move Finals

Published on December 7th, 2022

Introduction – Observing the Problem

As the clock ticks down toward the last day of the school semester, the stress levels of both teachers and students alike raise at higher rates than before. Even though these students may have been dedicated to the course the entire year, schools want to test their ability to remember in a written reference. As such, teachers will scramble to put together a test for the last week of the semester (regardless of whether a test represented the course’s style during the actual runtime). Unfortunately, they may end up overcompensating for what the students took away, meaning that they would need to relearn the entire course during the study period. On top of there not being enough time for even a singular class, students are expected to repeat this for each course they take, often at the expense of their sleep and mental awareness (which ends up impacting the test they were using said sleep to study for in the first place). In the end, students are fatigued due to overwork, and teachers are expected to grade these unnecessary assignments. By the time they return, neither parties are satisfied with how they utilized their limited time in comparison to how much they worked to get to that spot. This happens twice every school year, for around twenty years when college is included.

Although this problem could be adapted to any scale (such as weekly tests and weekends to re-energize), finals are where this issue is prominent due to the specific attention given to them through schedule changes. Furthermore, since these take place immediately before the course’s conclusion, it also means that students catching up on their workload need to divide up their time, potentially putting their Final at risk of not having been prepared hard enough. Furthermore, because these tests are representations of one’s activity in the class, failing a final often indicates a failure from the rest of the course (even when they were fine before). As such, I propose a new resolution for finals to be permanently canceled, with its benefits being outlined rather than just a simple “not having the faults above”.

Send-Off Moment – Reflection & Advancement

Although the grades are the recorded aspect of the class, there is a second aspect of most classes that exists out of the books. While some courses may be entirely asynchronous, most are either on Zoom (as of March 2020-onwards) or entirely in-person. Thereby, there is a social presence from not only the classmates (who either way spend time with each other in other courses) but also the instructor who may only have this course as their way to talk to their students. Even though teachers are not friends, there is still a bond that develops enough to the point where there should be a proper farewell. For this social aspect, it could be reflections of the best moments in the class, the most worthwhile lesson in the course, or even just a simple message of appreciation. Despite how some teachers portray themselves when it comes to how strict they are with their work, they are humans deep down who appreciate events such as “Teacher Appreciation week”. However, even if not for the teachers of the system, the point of a school is really for the students, who would also receive a benefit from this switch.

The lack of focus during the break leaves many students ignorant of what they could be doing during this period outside school. In such a send-off moment, the teacher could instead potentially prepare them for the next class by informing them of stuff they should be expected to learn. Thereby, they have the option to focus on said topic and use the period to study if they so desire. If this is the last class on the topic, this could just be an overview from the basics to give them confidence in how far they’ve come, or an overview of the recent few months on parts they’d use most often for the future. Either way, those who despise the course or the subject altogether could just walk out at this point (which thereby allows them to subconsciously appreciate it), considering that attendance is entirely optional for these extra sessions.

Extra Credit – Optional Chance for a last-minute fix-up

Beyond the existence of an attendance grade for this send-off moment being extra credit, there might be a desire to accomplish more in the course, especially for those who had their final destroy their grade. In such a case, extra credit assignments are often the indicator that their ability in the class is not based on memorization skills through a limited time session, but rather their ability to work through the course’s workload. That opposite claim explicitly stated above is a common occurrence when it comes to those who are not perfect students and were simply confused about the final. However, extra credit is often a thing that isn’t viewed as important until it would be the make-or-break moment, which is why it wouldn’t work before the final.

The argument against this could be made for the sake of frowning upon laziness. After all, students might view this as an opportunity to only work once the grade could be made, and would avoid studying for the Finals. However, the optimistic view is the higher likely outcome of switching to this new system; F-tier students would be encouraged to work harder and take up any extra opportunity. When combined with the previous section of teaching students future topics early, it may ultimately tip the scale of studious students versus the typical smart-from-birth phenomenon, as these lower students would feel ready for the next challenges they face. If the argument against this is that it wouldn’t cater towards who the school is for (A+ students), then teachers have not only missed the boat on what their system is supposed to accomplish, but they also fail to realize that there is a number that exists beyond one hundred.

Summary – Purpose

School Revision suggestions have all existed for years, each at their degree of radicalness. Unfortunately, they typically get dismissed due to it not working with tradition, which my article falls into (despite avoiding calling for its abolishment). However, this does not impact this proposal, as school administrators were not my initial intended target audience. Instead, this is directed toward teachers who can maintain their classes, as well as students who can persuade these teachers. Eventually, it will work its way up to the school administrators if it’s accepted by the teachers well enough, but for now, there is the potential to lessen stress with just a simple number swap.

Attempting to maintain Systemic Tradition:tm: is what brought us flawed utilities, such as Edgenuity & Zoom. These two tools were used during the COVID-19 pandemic as a method to replicate the classroom environment and learn from someone directly. However, like anything insisting on synchronous learning, they only accomplished frustration from students like myself. I responded to their unjustness previously, in a similar style to this proposal. However, unlike their limited time usage, accepting this proposal indicates a future built to last, which would give even more time for said brighter future.