Final Exams

Seniors given opportunity to skip end-of-year tests

Seniors at SHS have the opportunity to skip their finals this year. There is no limit to how many finals they can skip as long as they are eligible.
To be eligible to skip a final, students must have at least a ‘C-,’ and it must also be a traditional test. If the final is a project, then seniors cannot skip it.
“I think it is something that students should take advantage of if they have done the work to get them to where they need to be,” assistant principal Joe Horvath said.
In past years, underclassmen were able to participate in skipping finals if they had less than a certain amount of tardies. This year, only seniors are able to.
“The thought was to move it just to seniors this year because this is their last ‘Hurrah’ essentially,” Horvath said. “It is easier to justify them not taking the final than opposed to everybody.”
During professional development, one focus for staff is coming up with ways to assess student learning that does not include a traditional test. They have been promoting project-based assessments instead of traditional tests.
“It’s how we can take what we are doing (and) see if you really know the material by putting it more in a real-word scenario,” Horvath said. “As opposed to just ‘take these multiple choice questions and then you are good to go.’”
The main reason to have these kinds of assessments is for students to show that they remember and can apply what they learned instead of just memorizing the content.
Horvath believes that project-based assessments will become more common in upcoming years since students will be more able to use the skills they have learned.
“Anyone can regurgitate knowledge,” Horvath said. “Our goal is for you to be able to do something and perform with it.”
Seniors Audrey Heaton and Ariana Turovsky are both skipping all of their finals this year.
While Heaton would recommend for other seniors to skip as many finals as they can, Turovsky thinks that some students should take the final instead.
“If you feel like you want more experience and if you don’t feel like you understand the material as much, then I would take it,” Turovsky said. “But if you feel like you don’t want to take it and you have the academics for it, then I wouldn’t take it.”
Turovsky thinks that they should raise the grade requirement to be at least a ‘B’ instead of a ‘C-’.
Her and Horvath believe that having it be a ‘C-’ can be a disadvantage to students who will be unable to show their full potential.
“I always like to tell my kids when I was teaching, even if you have a ‘C-’ or better, take the final,” Horvath said. “Because if you believe that a ‘C-’ is the best you can do, then you are selling yourself short.”
AP Capstone and Latin teacher Thomas Davis thinks that finals do not show how a student did over the course of the semester.
He believes that finals can lead to students cramming information, and that if a student wasn’t already understanding the subject, then they won’t for the final.
“It’s been rare in my career that a student out performed on a test (than) what they were able to do during the class,” Davis said. “Particularly on a final because it is hard to gather in all semester’s worth of stuff if you haven’t been performing or showing an understanding.”