New Restrictions on Final Exams

Drew McLaughlin and Grace Townsend

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This year at Westborough High School, students are required to take the English, foreign language, physical education, and health finals regardless of your final grade in the class. Prior to this year, students could be exempt from all finals in which their grade met the required 90 or above average, along with teacher and parent approval. This way, students wouldn’t have to attend the final for that class, making more time to study for finals that they needed to take. We disagree with this restriction.

This idea was introduced in the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year, starting with a required English final. Throughout the year, more required finals were added, such as foreign language and physical education. This sparked controversy among students and faculty alike. For teachers, creating and grading a final exam or project is extremely difficult, and as the year winds down there isn’t much time to finalize grades. Finals make up 10% of a student’s final grade, so it’s beneficial for students to be exempt from as many finals as possible. This way, students don’t have to stress about the final ruining their overall grade.

Finals can cause major stress among students. The pressure to perform well is evident, and it’s clear how studying and preparing for these finals can control students’ lives. Towards the end of the year, students are overworking themselves. We asked Bridget Lord, a sophomore at WHS, her opinion on the new regulations for exemptions of finals. She says,“It doesn’t make sense to have English and foreign language final required because those are both classes where learning is accumulative. Your last project/essay grade of the year shows exactly how much you learned, you don’t need a final test to prove that.”

Lord also adds,“Students work so hard, and you’re really going to give me a huge test at the end of the year?” Lord is right, and most students can agree that knowing you have to take a final for a class causes unnecessary stress.

Also, students have reported that the new required finals decreased their motivation to earn a good grade. Knowing that they don’t have a grade they need to reach, students stop caring because sometimes being exempt from a final is the only thing motivating them. Either way, required finals cause so much more harm than good.   

Overall, the new restrictions for finals in the English, foreign language, and the physical education department put a great amount of stress on the students who may have previously earned an exemption. We hope that administration will reconsider other options in the future.