Will Finals Come Back After COVID, and Should They?

Jacopo Congiu-Hughes, Staff Writer

As the COVID pandemic alleviates itself, many people, especially students, are feeling a return to normalcy. Classes are back in-person without a mask mandate, and there is a prevailing sense that people just want to be done with the pandemic. But as the normal routines that characterized pre-pandemic school return, one has yet to come back: the dreaded year-end finals. 

Interestingly, none of the current students in State High have actually been able to experience finals. The seniors had their finals canceled when the pandemic started at the end of their freshman year. But many have done similar end of year tests in middle school, or have studied for AP tests, which is similar to studying for finals. Finals were canceled in the first year of the pandemic, and have not returned since. This is due to concerns that they would add unneeded stress on students possibly already dealing with additional stress. 

However, as the pandemic draws to a close, many teachers are hesitant to bring back finals. Andrew Merritt, AP Government and AP Comparative Government teacher at State High, shared his misgivings about finals. “I think midterms and finals are 100% artificial,” Merritt said. 

He also thought that finals would distract students from being able to study for the AP test they’d have to take at the end of the year.  

“AP is very specific and formulaic with what they do, so a final would just add undue stress to a stressful situation,”he stated. Instead of finals, Merritt chooses to do a final project, as he feels they help students retain their knowledge better.

Another teacher against the idea of finals was Josh Horton, English 11 teacher. This is his first year teaching at State High and he does not plan to implement finals while teaching here. 

“I’m not sure finals and midterms do what they set out to do. I feel like you load your brain with all these terms, but retaining the information doesn’t really work,” Horton said.  “I question if midterms and finals are effective in the long term”. 

He supported project based finals, such as a group project, feeling they help students retain information better over time. Mr. Horton said that although he “couldn’t speak for all the teachers,” most of the English teachers also preferred final projects over a test.

The majority of students are against finals as well. Kaylin Snyder, a senior at State High, says that she is against the idea of State High bringing finals back. 

“I think because finals are such a large percent of your grade, whether you pass or fail shouldn’t be determined by one test. If on the test day you’re having a bad day, that shouldn’t reflect your overall knowledge of the material that you spent the whole year learning,” Snyder stated. 

Many students have echoed the same statement, not wanting one bad day to ruin their entire grade. 

Overall, it seems that many students and teachers are against midterms and finals making a return after the pandemic, partly because many teachers have found ways to assess a student’s learning without the use of finals throughout the pandemic. So, even if the administration decides to bring back finals, it seems unlikely that most teachers will choose to implement them in their classrooms. Students can rest easy knowing finals are probably not making a comeback.