Administration works on changes to final exam structure to better fit student needs

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Principal Tom Harmas works at his desk. Harmas said, by updating the way finals work, CHS hopes to prioritize true understanding of content and ensure students are prepared before entering second semester.

Chloe Sun

CHS has shifted from its previous week-long half-day final exam structure to a more lenient one that allows individual teachers to decide when and how final exams will be conducted—a model similar to last school year. 

According to Principal Dr. Harmas, “I don’t believe that we’re going to do half-days (anymore). Also, most classes aren’t giving a true final. Some of them will have tests that will be just like (any) other test.”

A main reason for this shift is to allow students’ grades to truly reflect their abilities. 

Harmas said, “Grades (are) going to be about growth over time instead of a singular point in time. We used to make 40% (of student grades reflect the) first nine weeks, 40% the second nine weeks and 20% the final. So you could go from an A to a B minus just by taking the final. However you could’ve proven over 18 weeks what you know, so it really didn’t make a lot of sense. We want to concentrate on student learning. Growth over time truly measures what you know.”

CHS has also made accommodations to ensure students avoid experiencing multiple final exams on the same day. 

Harmas said, “If teachers are going to give finals, we will give them time periods so that all kids won’t have seven finals during the day. There are many teachers who are going to give finals where if it helps your grade, they’ll take that. If it doesn’t, they won’t count it or use it. The good thing is some of them will be doing things earlier in the week before and use that last week of the semester to really review where students became lost in class and really try to build on those skills.” 

Senior Rami Hage, who will be taking both an AP Physics I final and a regularly-weighted AP Macroeconomics test as a final exam, said there were benefits to both the updated final exam structure and the old structure. 

“On one side, I do like that we don’t have to have a real final in classes we’d previously have them in,” Hage said. “At the same time, with the old finals week, we were given more freedom to take time off during the day to study—that’s a bit lost now and I enjoyed that.” By Chloe Sun

Due to COVID, Skip-A-Final is not being offered during the 2021-2022 school year—read more about it here.

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