Lower weighted finals benefit students

Editorial, Staff

High school is a stressful environment. According to a 2015 study from the New York University College of Nursing, approximately half of all high school students in the study reported feeling a great deal of stress on a day to day basis and 31% percent described feeling somewhat stressed.
However, when final exams roll around it feels as though those numbers skyrocket. There is pressure from teachers, parents, and even students themselves to preform well on a test that is worth 20% of one’s grade. The weight of the final creates an unnecessary amount of stress.
Society stresses the importance of having a high GPA so that individuals can go on to a good college, earn a degree, and integrate themselves into a higher level, well-paying career.
Students who take their finals seriously are more likely to spend more time studying after their day is done, which might impede on their sleeping habits. The schedule for finals is set up so that students only need to study for two finals a night, but rather than spending two hours studying for two classes, it can end up turning into three or four hours if the test is on an AP or honors class.
However, not all students want to study for a good grade and turn to cheating in attempts to boost their overall grade.
No one can be expected to memorize an entire semester’s worth of knowledge. When students know they will need an absurdly high percent on the final to either raise their grade or keep it stagnant, they may decide to skip studying altogether.
Some students simply accept that they will not be able to achieve the percentage needed to boost their grade due to the fact that they are not good test takers. The overall grade from the classroom is not solely exam-based assignments. While one may score poorly on a test, they may be able to improve their grade from an outlet more their speed, such as a storybook project. The same can be said for the reverse. Many students struggle with presenting, so having a final exam in the form of a presentation can result in a lower score.
Still, final exams are important for both students and teachers. The assessments can keep students motivated to stay focused throughout the year knowing that they will be tested on this information later. It also allows teachers to gather what areas students struggled with so that they can change their curriculum accordingly.
Even though the outline of the exam may not change, the overall weight of the final can; a shift to 10% rather than 20% still allows those that are behind to catch up, providing they put forth the effort. Creating a less stressful environment for students promotes learning for the sake of learning.
Instead of being focused on a GPA, students can focus on forming good study habits to assist them later in life. Teachers and the district would still be able to gather data on the areas of studies students are either excelling or struggling in.
School is not meant to be a place where kids spend hours crying over final review packets in fear of having a grade drop a few percentages. Rather, it is meant to be a place where students can be proud of their accomplishments and relish in an education that came from their perseverance.