Teachers note pluses and minuses of no finals

Reducing stress on students is one major advantage, they say


Lauren Evanseck

Students in one of Mrs. Melina Bundy’s English classes in Loretto prepare for their next assignment. That preparation will not include studying for first semester finals, as the administration has canceled those exams that had been scheduled for Dec. 15 through Dec. 18.

Ella Bundy, Reporter

Due to instruction being returned to eLearning, finals have been canceled for the second semester in a row. However, that doesn’t mean that end-of-the-semester tests or projects are out of question; they just won’t count as 20% of a student’s grade. 

Math teacher Mrs. Christine Koers says that one of the only downsides not having finals is that “some students might need those finals to help their grades.” However, she also said that there are many positive aspects of both eLearning and no finals, such as the fact that, as she said,  “2020 has not been a very nice year, and both no finals and a return to eLearning are probably really helpful for the stress level of students.”

Mrs. Jennifer Alexander, biology and environmental science teacher,  said that one upside of having no finals is how “there’s more time to teach and get caught up on the lessons for the teachers, as well as less stress for students.”

Alexander said that her environmental science classes will have a scrapbook project in place of their final exam, while her biology classes will have a test. “In (environmental science), the project will help the students explore areas of environmental science that we do not have a chance to get to in class and that they are interested in. This will help them to be able to learn a little bit more about environmental science in depth,” she said. 

Alexander added, “In biology, the students will have a longer time to study for this unit test than what they would have had if this semester was rushed with trying to take final exams.”

The test will not be cumulative like it would have been, which will put less stress on my students.”

— Mrs. Christine Koers

Koers also plans on having a test be taken, though it won’t be quite as long as her final exam would have been. She said, “The test will not be cumulative like it would have been, which will put less stress on my students.”

Koers said, “Make sure you are paying attention to your Zoom classes and make sure you keep up on your assignments.  The assignments are not optional and these grades matter.”

Alexander said, “The most important thing about taking end-of-semester exams is being able to see what the students have learned from the beginning of the semester to the end. It is great practice for semester exams in college. Everyone should have that experience and a normal school year.” 

She also said that one of the only changes with no finals are “the things that change in the grade book. I really think it will help the students to be less stressed at the end of the semester, to have no finals.”

Alexander said, “I think in this pandemic year, it’s a good thing to be able to take some stress out of the students’ lives. There will be times for final exams when the pandemic is over and things return to a little bit more of a normal status.”

Koers also said, given the context of the pandemic, that teachers and students should “go with the flow of this crazy time of Covid-19. It is like teaching and learning  in a bad soap opera consistently changing with the drama.”

Alexander wrapped up by saying, “I would just like to say that we are all working on this together and we are trying to make this and the first semester the best we can for the students. There are probably a lot of different feelings about not having finals, but in the grand scheme of life, it’s the best thing for this semester.”