Editorial: Final exams – are they worth it?


Photo Credit to Ben Mullins

With Final exams fast approaching for the students of Niles North, many are left wondering, are exams worth it?  What is it that these stressful exams really bring for the students they befall? Not a lot.

 Finals have long been used to test students in their proficiency in subjects such as algebra, physics, and English however in recent years some have started questioning whether or not these exams actually test the students knowledge or rather only test a students ability to take a test. 

Some have argued that these exams do not do the job they intend to do because some students simply do not perform as well on standardized tests, so while some students are plenty proficient often do not seem as proficient because of one Final Exam. It seems odd that one test outweighs an entire semester of work that the student put in. 

Another argument for why final exams are not worth it is that many students just cram for their exams and end up forgetting most of what they crammed because they did not retain the information. Stress also ends up being a big issue for students during finals time. The school has even opted to bring in therapy dogs to try and stem this stress, and even though many students enjoy seeing the dogs it is odd that they choose to divert this problem instead of attempting to address the problem directly. 

A solution to this issue would be to just make finals optional.”

A solution to this issue would be to just make finals optional. This would be a good option because it would allow students who are comfortable with their grades at the end of the year and do not wish to see their grade change to opt out, and any student who needs to improve their grade, or is on a border line would be able to take it in order to attempt to improve their grades. 

Another solution would be to improve the way that finals are taken by tailoring them to the classes they are taken in. For example in science classes would it not make more sense to give the students a lab to complete to test their use of things like the scientific method, or the ability to write a hypothesis? 

Many classes in the arts opt to have the students submit a portfolio of all of their work so they can reflect on the work they did throughout the year. So why can other classes not follow this motto and allow students to reflect on their hard work throughout the semester rather than give a test that does not really test anything but the ability to take a test itself?

These ideas are more productive and meaningful ways to capstone a student’s semester of learning. Save the stress for scary movies and amusement park rides.