Opinions: A Paige from her book: Finals frenzy

As finals approach, I spend at least three hours every night slumped over notecards and textbooks for hours wondering to myself what’s the point.

To us, finals are all about beating the system. We all know the system. We figure out the lowest possible grade we can receive on a final to maintain the grade we want, then work as hard as possible to achieve that grade.

Last year, I had an 87 percent in a Algebra II. Since finals are only 20 percent of the final grade, I knew I would literally have to get a 100 percent my semester grade to an “A-,” and I could fail the final and still receive a “B.” Conclusion: don’t bother studying for the final.

I would classify myself as a hard-working and dedicated student overall. But when it’s the end of the semester and there is no way to improve my grade, I see no point in studying for finals.

Mid-terms are also always an issue for math and science classes. They are a good way to review for the final. I think if you are exempting a final you should not have to take the midterm. With seven classes, there are enough finals for students to worry about rather than studying material for a final they won’t be taking.

I do however understand the concept behind finals. Students are expected to demonstrate what they have learned throughout the year to show they have truly mastered the concept.

With standards-based grading, students show they have learned the material in a variety of methods throughout the year. Standards-based grading allows students who have trouble taking tests to re-take tests to show they have mastered such material. Finals seem to contradict standards-based grading. If the district is adopting this system, standards-based grading should reflected in finals as well.

I also understand that finals are supposed to prepare students for college. Standards-based grading does not reflect how college grading functions. To say finals are to prepare us for college when our entire system does not refletct a college grading system is nonsensical.

Students often blame teachers for making us take finals when the teachers really have no say on finals. The district decides how finals work so there is consistency throughout the district.

I think a more effective system would be making finals optional. Students who have anything below a “C-” would be required to take the final, but anything above a “C-“ students could decide if they wanted to take the final. Students could choose to take only classes they want to show they have learned the information and wish to improve their grade.

Students would demonstrate what they have learned, just like the principal standards-based grading is built upon. Students would be able to concentrate on subjects they were unsure of rather than wasting their time studying material they have already learned but are unsure if they can spit out in a 120-minute time period in a form of short answer, essay and multiple choice.

With a new system, no one would be wasting any time. Students do not have to halfway study for finals in order just to make a 60 percent to keep their grade. They would be able to concentrate on borderline grades to work on improving those grades.

Teachers would also benefit from a change in the system. They would not have to waste time grading finals for students who were not going to put any effort into taking them.

It would be more beneficial for my education to study for two finals in borderline “A” classes, but instead I will spend hours studying for five finals in classes I already proved I learned the material.