What’s Next? The Future of Finals


Daania Adeel

Stressed student with overloaded work for every class, squeeze room to study for upcoming finals.

On Dec. 21 and 22, 2022, LHS students took final exams for the first time since before the COVID-19 Pandemic.
During the first semester of 2022, unlike two years prior, the vast majority of teachers gave a final in their classroom. Whether that be in the form of a standardized test, project or essay, the format of finals has drastically changed and will continue to as we step toward the future.
In the past, the structure of finals remained relatively the same. Students took one exam per class over three days during an extended class period. But like so many other things, this system was changed in response to remote and hybrid learning. As a result, during and directly following the pandemic, teachers were given the choice to opt out of assigning assessments. However, this has since changed as new rules for finals have been implemented into the new year as LHS students return to in-school learning.
Some of the most notable changes range from a new grading system (specifically, how much weight each final has on a student’s GPA), how long each final is, the amount of days in the finals schedule and whether a senior has to take a final despite having an A in the class.
This year, the schedule for finals was split into two days based on a student’s even and odd classes as shown by their daily schedule. Day one was for class periods 1, 3, 5 and 7, while day two was focused on classes 2, 4, 6 and 8. Both days had four designated class periods and a lunch period, each lasting 75 minutes.
According to Mr. Albin, associate principal for curriculum and instruction, these changes had been underway even before COVID.
“We were starting to head in this way [and were] broadening our definition of end-of-semester experiences to include a traditional summative exam, but also to include presentations, papers, and other practical experiences.” Mr. Albin said. “Hopefully exams have an impact, but in a healthy way.”
Since students have been doing these things all semester, “it shouldn’t be anxiety-provoking,” Mr. Albin explained. “We’re taking the knowledge and skills that have been built up over a semester and giving opportunities to demonstrate them.”
On February 1st, there was meant to be a committee meeting to discuss the future of finals. This date came and went with no decision being announced.
“The district is setting up a series of meetings coming up in the next couple of weeks to determine our end-of-semester schedule, certainly for this semester,” Mr. Albin explained. This meeting should help clarify the details on what’s to come for students’ next final exam.
There’s no doubt these changes have affected students’ opinions on the matter. From a survey sent by DOI to the student body, out of 67 responses, 40.3% had a neutral opinion on how finals went first semester, while 33% disliked/strongly disliked finals and 26% of students liked/strongly liked finals. This was likely the result of stress during this rigorous time as many ranked their stress levels roughly an 8 on a 10-point scale.
Teachers also have opinions on how finals are now being implemented. Mr. Tim Budge, the math department chair, would like to see changes specifically in the schedule.
“I would prefer the 3-day model [that we had in the past], mainly because I worry that at the end of the semester, students are getting stressed out,” explained Mr. Budge.
With the two-day schedule used in the first semester, students had all of their finals compacted into just two days, raising stress levels throughout the school. Some students even had four exams in a row on a single day.
“Back before COVID, we would worry about students potentially having three [or four] finals in a day, [and that] would concern me,” said Mr. Budge.
Feedback, both positive and negative, has been given by students and staff. As we approach the end of the year finals, it’s more than likely that everyone will see improvements to the overall structure after taking the criticism provided by the school into account.