Finals: helpful or harmful?

Providence Academy students just came home from a relaxing Christmas spent with family and friends.

Immediately prior to this holiday break, students spent hours in the gym taking semester exams, the dreaded finals.

Finals, a required part of PA academic life, hold an important part for students. Students have finals for all six core classes, excluding electives.

They cause tension and anxiety for all high school students resulting in what Sarah Maguire ‘17 called, “stress, lack of sleep and extreme addiction to coffee.”

As stressful as finals can be, both teachers and students still agree on the ways finals can benefit.

For teachers, finals serve as a way to have one final assessment that gauges how well a student understands the material.

Mr. Edward Hester, a history teacher, said that finals provide a way for him to, “view how well I am doing as a teacher and to get a good sense of how well my individual students truly understand the material I’ve taught over the semester.”

David Kramer ’18 believes finals benefit students in the same way and make students, “well aware of what they know and don’t know, which has all been based on the choices they’ve made and the work they’ve put in throughout the semester.”

He also thinks they provide a good way to “prepare students for the exam setting in college” and “are a last-chance grade saver for most people.”

Despite all these reasons, students still disagree on if the positive effects outweigh the negative effects or if finals are simply not worth all the trouble.

Sarah Maguire ‘17 agreed with the former and said, “the good outweighs the bad because overall, finals benefit students more than they harm them,” crediting the review that finals provide, as their main benefit.

The views of juniors Brock Lahr ‘17 and Clay Gardner ‘17 differ with those of Maguire’s. Both believe that the little good finals bring does not compare to the stress they cause.

Lahr said, “finals stress me out a ton and most of my studying as well as most everyone’s studying is cramming, so you don’t even retain any of the information, going against the goal of finals, to review.”

Gardner agreed and said, “I think finals would be more beneficial if they were taken in your three lowest classes, or if you have an ‘A’ in the class, you are exempt from that final. That would definitely lessen the stress, and people would perform better overall.”

A lot of conflict exists concerning finals, whether or not they actually help students or if alternatives might provide a better solution, but since there seems to be no solution, at least in the present, a wish of “good luck” is all that one can hope for.