Kipp: North should end Finals as we know them


Elliott Kipp, Writer

As the new semester begins, and we lay to rest another round of Finals, I ponder why we call them “Finals” when we know we will have another round of “Finals” again. There is no finality to it. I would like to change that, and finally put an end to Finals.

Perhaps in some far off galaxy decades ago, finals used to be practical in school—but they should no longer be commonplace in an equitable and individualized education system. 

For example, one key argument against Finals is that they’re often unfair to students who don’t perform well in high-stress situations (such as taking a test that will have a high impact on their grade). Another thing that educators may argue could be that final exams are a waste of both the teachers and students time, as benchmarks and quizzes already prove what the student knows. Final exams also deny students the ability to look back on their work to learn from their mistakes, as Finals are always at the end of a semester, marking the end of a course. 

While there are negative aspects to finals, there are also positives. Some of these positives include preparing high-school students for other tests of the same caliber, which are common in college. Another positive could be that they do encourage students to review—and memorize—previous work in the semester, solidifying their knowledge from earlier lessons. Finals can also help students build time-management skills, as they force students to study for tests. 

However, all of these positives have a solid counterargument. While Finals may prepare students for finals in college, colleges could simply also stop using Finals—in some probably distant future. A counter argument for the other two is that the skills developed by preparing for Finals can simply be developed in other ways, such as regular studying or test taking

You, the reader, may be wondering what could be implemented to replace Final exams. Well, I can give you an easy answer: final projects. A final project would simply be a project that students work on for weeks prior to typical exam time, allowing for more variety in finals, and for more accurate representation of a student’s knowledge. In Science and Math classes (which are notorious for huge tests) a final project in these classes could be anything from an individual presentation to something similar to a science fair. The template for Finals at Oshkosh North is that it must be a comprehensive 90-minute exam, worth 10% of the grade.

Finals might have been practical in school once upon a time, but they should no longer be commonplace. Finals were viable when schools prioritized core subjects; however, there are better opportunities to wrap up a semester. Final projects are a much more viable option as they allow creativity to flourish while still showing the teacher what the student has learned and how well they’ve retained information. Final projects would take more work to set up and grade, but they actually evaluate the student without putting them in a stressful situation that could affect how well their answers actually reflect their knowledge.

In conclusion, Finals are needlessly stressful and difficult for students, and there are other options for large assignments at the end of the year. At the very least, Finals should not be required by classrooms—they should be among various options for end of the year assignments.