Finals: Hit or miss?


Michelle Lin

Students who have a low A (90-94%) before taking the final could possibly end up with a B after the final. A single bad score on the final can bring down the student’s entire semester’s worth of hard work, which is why NC should allow their students who meet special requirements an opportunity to exempt finals.

Michelle Lin, Reporter, Photographer

At the end of every semester, students frantically study for their end of the year finals. Even on the last two days of school, teachers still require students to take possibly the hardest test of the year, which some students’ grades depend on. Generally, students do not perform as well on their finals compared to the other tests they take in the class. After all, finals include content from the entire course rather than just a single unit. If a student holds a low A (90 to a 94) in the class before the final, there lies a high chance that their resulting grade on the final may bring them down to a high B. To remedy this issue, NC should amend their curricula and allow students who meet specific requirements to exempt their finals.

“It has always just been a tradition to have a final at the end of the semester in a way to require students to go back and remember everything they learned the entire semester. Some teachers give out final projects instead of tests because they are required by the state to give their students EOCs which are worth 20% of their grade. I think students should be given a chance to be exempted from their finals, but only if they worked for the grade they deserve,” junior Magnet student Trisha Nguyen said.

Now, imagine standing in the shoes of that one student in the class who works nonstop, trying to achieve an A, only to see his hard work disregarded because of a single grade earned on a single test taken at the end of the year. Especially for students who need a GPA boost when they walk into class with hopes of achieving an A, but walk out with a B, devastated to come so close to a long-awaited goal. That one point between an A and a B can destroy a student’s GPA. For example, in a regular on-level class, instead of getting the full four points for that A, the student would only receive the three points for the B the final test caused them to receive. It may not seem like a large difference but averaged out, as people take more classes and the same problem becomes more common, it could cause one’s GPA to not meet the number they need for college.

“Finals should only be mandatory for students who don’t have an A in the class. If a                         student has an A in the class, that means that they worked hard for that A, and since the student has an A, really the only thing the final can do is hurt their grade. If the student doesn’t have an A, but for example, a borderline B, the final can either help bring their grade up or remain the same,” junior Valencia Ajeh said.

Paulding County schools and several Cobb County high schools like Hillgrove, Campbell, South Cobb, and Kell allow students to exempt finals if they meet certain grade, attendance, and behavior requirements. Teachers may argue that students who do not obtain that A on the final did not pay enough attention in the class. However, even if a student earns a high B or even an A on the final, if their grade of the final still remains below their overall grade, it will still drag their overall grade down. This problem consistently happens at the end of every single semester, in fact, just last semester, students and parents complained about last-minute grades that dragged As down to Bs.

Michelle Lin
This graph shows that out of of 36 NC students surveyed, 63.9% claimed that their grade in a class dropped from an A to a B due to their finals last semester.

With the new curriculum in place, students no longer need to bombard their teachers’ emails at the end of every semester begging them to raise their borderline grades, and teachers will no longer need to reply back to these hoards of emails explaining why they will not bump up their grades. Final exams should become non-mandatory for students who managed to work hard in the class every single day to maintain an A in the class before the final. Making finals mandatory will only threat students’ grades, and serve no higher purpose.

The results of the survey showed that out of 36 students surveyed, 80.6% students believed that allowing students to exempt finals would become a fair option for NC.