Final exams should be required, regardless of grade

Jasmin Prasad, Staff Writer

Finals week is perhaps the most stressful time for high schoolers; many are plagued with stress and anxiety over an exam that has the potential to drastically change their grade in the class. However, the concept of secured grades — having an A or B in a class no matter what grade is earned on the final — has left students questioning whether or not students with secured grades should be required to take finals.
Although secured grades would not be affected by their respective finals, it is important to take note of what a final is actually a measure of. More often than not, a final consists of cumulative lessons taught in a class throughout the semester and thus adequately tests students on their knowledge for the course as a whole.
Albeit, there are some finals that differ from the standard format: they instead focus on the last lessons or chapters taught in the class prior to taking the final. In both cases, the final is necessary both for the teacher and the student.
Accessing students’ grades on finals allow teachers to be informed of their students’ success rates with regards to comprehension of the course material, the understanding of general curriculum and the effectiveness of their lessons.
For students, the final is informative of their level of understanding in a specific class. Finals represent ideas and concepts that should be the takeaways from the class; without finals, there would be no weighing mechanism to determine whether or not a student actually learned the material.
Additionally, secured A’s, B’s and letter grades in general aren’t exactly indicative of what a student has absorbed from a class — at least to the extent that a final is. Some teachers assign projects which, depending on how they’re weighted, don’t require much knowledge on the taught material. The same is true for extra credit opportunities, where the extra credit may not even have a relation to class curriculum.
In cases where homework comprises a large percentage of a grade, finals are even more necessary; more often than not, students copy homework merely for completion and not for understanding. Thus, yet again, finals become an inadequate measure of what students have actually learned in the class.