Editorials Opinions — 12 December 2011

For years, the mentioning one single word has struck fear in the heart of teenagers across the globe. That word is none other than . . . finals! Each year, students are expected to gather the knowledge they were supposed to have gained over the past few months and prove their proficiency in the form of an often ridiculously long test. There have been a few changes regarding the finals system at Rock Creek this year. Now, students who have an A in a class may choose to opt out of taking a final (with the exception of concurrent credit classes). Like most students, I am thrilled by the new rules, however, there are a few who are not as excited.

The idea to change the finals policy was first crafted by the faculty senate at Rock Creek, and from there, went to the Board of Education for approval. First, however, a variety of rules had to be made to go along with it in order for the change to be made. For example, students may not request to take the exam early simply to avoid having to go to school. The only exception to this is if a student will be out of town. Also, classes that can be taken for Highland Community College concurrent credit are required to give a final regardless of students’ grades. However, this is a rule enforced by Highland, thus, Rock Creek has little say in the matter.

In my opinion, the new rules that have been put in place feel like academic justice. The entire point of a final is to test a student’s knowledge, but if a student has continuously demonstrated a thorough understanding in a certain area, why should he have to prove it again? Some may say that if a student has had such success so far, he should easily be able to pass one more test, but honestly, it is not that easy. Finals usually carry a lot more weight than normal test, so even the most iron-willed students tend to get a little nervous, which can affect test scores.

Of course, just like any new rule, there are a few people who oppose it. Some people think it is unfair that students need an A to get out of doing a final. People may claim that since a C traditionally is considered an average grade, they should only need a B. Personally, I do not feel that is the case anymore. I think that B has taken the place as an average grade. In any case, it is reasonable that only the top-tier students should hold such a privilege. If everybody were allowed to opt out of finals, it would be a right, not a privilege. This would completely defeat the purpose of the new rule, which is to reward students for their hard work.

Also, it may end up being more of a burden on teachers. For example, in an English class, teachers, in the past, often made a book test the class final. A problem has now been created in the fact that students with A’s would not have to take the book test. Essentially, a student would not even need to read the book since they would not be taking a final. To add on to that, students who do not receive an A are then forced to take two tests back to back, which could be unbelievably stressful on many students.

After examining the new finals policy, I have concluded that it is a fantastic change in the school and will have great results, however, it does also have some significant issues that need to be addressed. It will encourage students to work harder and reward those who do. However, while it may be a great reward, it also poses some difficulties to teachers and could, in some cases, put non-A students at a serious disadvantage. All in all, while the policy will need to be adjusted for maximum efficiency over the next few semesters; once it is, I believe it will end up working out quite well.

By Devin Muir, Newspaper Editor in Chief

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