Bring back final exams

Jane Fleischman

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Final exams were an important part of high school before MCPS removed them.

MCPS announced the end of final exams a few years ago and it took effect in the 2016-2017 school year. The explanation given was that the county wanted to free up instructional time. Of course, everyone at WJ already knows this. Finals and midterms haven’t been around for awhile and we are are used to progress checks.

There is a problem; exams really haven’t gone away. Just because we live in a bubble of “progress checks” and the 50% rule, doesn’t mean the world reflects that lack of accountability. In fact, we grow reliant on these easier grading policies, and real life is harder. Without the high stakes final and midterm exams, we put far less weight on preparing for cumulative activities.

This testing system does not promote the study skills necessary for college and later in life. Without exams to prepare for, we lose the ability to study in the long term. In college, final exams still definitely exist. Now we just go into them without the skills we could have gained in high school. These are essential study skills that we are not gaining because it isn’t convenient for our county.

We also have so many other disruptions to our schedule that the exams wouldn’t really have any overall impact. Parcc, AP exams and senior projects all are disruptions to class time. We go to a school full of disruptions and schedule changes, exams are nothing new. They are more useful than many of those other disruptions. Senseless standardized testing makes much less sense than exams that actually prepare us for life skills.