Changes To Finals Schedule for SHS Students

Seaman High School has changed their 1st semester finals schedule to after winter break due to the effects of COVID-19 on the timing of the school year. 

Assistant Principal for students with last names L-Z, Kate Welch, comments “School started later than usual and teaching/learning has been disrupted by WiFi issues and quarantining mandates. So pushing finals back could be viewed as a good thing because everyone will have a chance to get caught up and prepare.” 

The updated schedule is as follows:  Monday, January 11, 2021 – Odd Classes Finals, Tuesday, January 12, 2021- Even Class Finals.  

All classes will be holding finals this year in spite of the constant alterations from COVID-19. The medium of these tests will vary depending on class and teachers. 

Welch is optimistic about finals being after winter break, stating she has worked in districts where taking finals after winter break was the standard. 

“There’s nothing “standard” about this school year, we’re all shifting our mindsets!  Our teachers have become excellent Tech Troubleshooters and they know, going into finals, what the best methods are for evaluating student progress. You can bet they will coach students through the process, well in advance, so everyone will be prepared. But students must do their part, too,” Welch said. 

Furthermore, Welch suggests that students take advantage of the opportunities they have to connect with classmates and communicate with teachers, to stay engaged and stick to the school schedule at home! 

Senior Kaden Fox is not nearly as confident regarding the schedule change. Although he says he is not nervous for his finals and enjoys remote learning more than in-person due to the flexibility that it has allowed, Fox does not approve of finals after winter break. 

“I don’t think it is fair to students, as they will have a roughly two-week lull where they are not learning and/or retaining information from in class,” Fox said. 

Similarly, freshman Cheyanne Turkin is nervous about taking her first year of final exams after break and being full remote. She worries she will “forget information over break.” 

“It’s weird knowing my first high school finals will be remote because I’m not familiar with taking finals, and I never thought that I would be doing such a big test online at home,” Turkin adds. 

Both Fox and Turkin agree that they would rather take their finals before winter break. 

Turkin comments, “I feel like it is something to look forward to after getting your finals done and over with.” 

For those who have experienced finals pre-covid, the week of finals was a celebration of learning in many classes. Students and staff would commemorate “making it to winter break” with food parties, games, movies, and that they would get the next two weeks to relax and enjoy the holiday season. The feeling of accomplishment was spread through the school heading into winter break. This year, classes will continue as normal until Tuesday, December 22nd, and will pick up right where they left off on January 4th. 

So the question is: Will finals after winter break greatly affect final grades compared to those that would happen before break? There is also another piece of the puzzle to think about: these will be many students’ first finals from remote learning.

Welch is confident that just like any other finals, it is up to the student and what they will do with additional time. 

“Students should  be dialed-in for the weeks leading up to break. Teachers will guide you on how to prepare for finals–pay attention! Over break, don’t let your brain go into hibernation mode. Review, practice, and reconnect,” says Welch. 

Students believe that the finals after returning from winter break will cause a worsening in grades.

 “Because of the two week lull, it will make it extremely difficult for students to retain information,” states Fox. 

However, Fox and Turkin have already started to think about how they will prepare for their finals. Although they have not had discussions on what types of finals each of their classes will have, they know they will want to be studying over break. 

Turkin states, “I’m making sure I know the content that I’m learning well, and then I will study over break to be prepared for the tests.”

It is important to remember that “schools are communities, whether online or in-person,” says Welch. While this school has been full of changes, adaptability, optimism, and willingness will allow students and teachers to make the most of the time spent at home or in the classroom. 

“Success really depends on how students and teachers pivot to meet these new challenges,” Welch says.