Finals Week is Out For 2020


Photo originally published in the Jetstream in 2018. Juniors Maizie Daye and Kate Farhart start finals’ studying during the S4 study hall.

Finals: the most dreaded part of the year for any high school student. A week-long process of half-days and studying that leaves students struggling to catch up on missed sleep in the following weeks.

This school year has left many up-in-the-air questions regarding finals. Luckily for the students of Air Academy, final exams are no longer required for the first semester, except for classes designated CU Succeed. Instead of a traditional final exams week, the week before winter break has been altered into a slightly different format.

From Dec. 14 to Dec. 18, Monday and Wednesday are blue days, and Tuesday and Thursday are silver days. Friday will be the workday schedule that usually takes place on Wednesdays. This allows teachers to work with students last minute to talk about grades.

Some positives come with this altered schedule, however. Because of the online learning format cheating has, unfortunately, become a habit for many students, but science teacher Rachel Valiquette had a more optimistic view of the pros of the changed plan.

“In my opinion, an altered finals schedule allows for more time to learn the content and to help students and teachers feel more comfortable slowing down,” Valiquette said.

Many students agreed that more time for learning was a great part of the new schedule. Senior Colby Cartier was all for the new plan, but he also acknowledged the drawbacks.

“Obviously, it is less stressful for students who usually just cram studying the week before to get a decent final grade then forget it all over Christmas break,” said Cartier. “But there is the possibility that some students will just blow the year off, and not worry about retaining knowledge they learn early on, giving an advantage to the students who do not generally work as hard as others.”

While some teachers will be requiring a test sometime before the end of the semester, it won’t be graded as a final. Papers and unit tests may be assigned in specific classes, but without a final grade, classwork and formative quizzes become more crucial.

“The semester-in-progress grade will serve as the final grade for the semester. If a course has a weighted category for Final Exams, this category will no longer calculate into the final grade,” principal Dan Olson explained.

In the second semester, finals week should be continuing as it normally would. By that time, the school expects to have enough district-provided computers with lock-down browsers to distribute to students. The hybrid testing format will have its own challenges, but for now, teachers are adapting to the change.

The individual plans for each class vary. Even with finals being canceled, core class teachers may be planning a variety of papers and unit assessments for students to complete for a grade, so despite the lack of finals students shouldn’t take this semester lightly.

“My advice for students would be to plan ahead! There’s a solid chance they’re going to have several projects and tests and papers due even if they’re not ‘finals’,” advised language arts teacher Katie Klostermann. “The key to success will be to schedule when you’re going to get it done. You can’t do all that in one week, so anything you CAN do in advance, you should!”

The adjusted finals schedule has thrown yet another curveball into the 2020-2021 school year, but staying on top of classes this semester will allow students to continue achieving at their highest level.