At the end of each high school semester, the students are tasked with overwhelmingly difficult tests that encompass all of the knowledge taught for that semester. These tests, referred to as ‘Midterms’ or ‘Finals,’ encourage students to continue to interact with the course material, bettering their chances of remembering the material. But, while finals aim at allowing students to understand and remember the course content already learned, the tests end up placing the students in highly stressful situations and at high-risk of failing a class, he or she may have worked hard at all year (“Examining the Benefits of Cumulative Tests and Finals.”).
Finals try to help long-term retention, but only push students to memorize as much of the information as possible without actually learning it (“Examining the Benefits of Cumulative Tests and Finals.”). While finals appear to be a good option for a lasting remembrance of material, the tests increase stress and allow for little actual learning, only memorizing, to occur.
Although finals are supposed to be a test over all the knowledge acquired, students rarely take time to thoroughly review material before the exam. Many students learn just enough to pass the test, cramming all the information into one study session, and forget it all after completion (Fox). The focus is on passing the test, rather than learning the material, defeating the purpose of what the test, and essentially school, is: to learn and grow one’s mind (Fox).
A school must ask itself when the test does not evaluate a student’s learning capabilities but instead, their memorization, is the test really necessary to have? Finals should be ended as they only examine a student’s ability to retain information for a short period rather than evaluate what the students have learned in the semester. Also, finals place students in a high-pressure environment, affecting their ability to perform well.
A student may be hardworking and diligent, but when given a little amount of time and lots of information to understand, the high stakes and high pressure can alter the true reflection of a student’s abilities (Brodeur). The stress affects the mental health of a student, a topic schools try to put importance on but rarely talk about how mental health can be affected and helped. The stress can stop a student’s eating or sleep schedule, or make him or her physically sick, something that can be easily prevented if finals are ended (Brodeur).
Schools have to ask what is more important, testing students with a difficult exam that covers material students have forgotten or preserving the healthiness of a student’s mind? The stress of the exams allows for no accurate portrayal of a student’s successes in the classroom as they only incite fear and anxiety in a student, therefore not being a viable option for evaluating students.
Finals are tests aimed at evaluating a student’s knowledge at the end of a semester, but ultimately the exams only increase stress and are not an accurate depiction of a student’s capabilities. Instead of having final exams, schools can test students after each unit, topic, or chapter they learn, as schools normally do. These tests are just as accurate, if not more, than finals and eliminate stress and anxiety as well. No student can accurately be evaluated on a test that is influenced by stress, anxiety, and a lack of learning and preparation, ruling finals as unnecessary in a school setting.
“Examining the Benefits of Cumulative Tests and Finals.” Faculty Focus | Higher Ed Teaching
& Learning, 13 Nov. 2015,www.facultyfocus.com/articles/educational-assessment/
Fox, Andi. “6 Reasons Why We Shouldn’t Have Final Exams.” HHS Media, hhsmedia.com/
Brodeur, Kris. “Finals Shouldn’t Have the Power to Destroy Cumulative Grades.” The GW
Hatchet, 22 Dec. 2017, www.gwhatchet.com/2017/12/21/finals-shouldnt-have-the-power-to-destroy-cumulative-grades/.