The structure of the finals schedule entails particular stress for students that have multiple exams clumped in a single day. That stress, however, may be mitigated soon—at least for seniors.
Administration has recommended that teachers administer their senior finals according to a schedule that assigns specific subjects to certain days; English and modern language, for instance, are slated for May 31 while science and music are set for June 1. In this manner, the staff aims to minimize the number of finals seniors take per day.
In previous years, teachers have held senior finals at their own discretion, without adhering to a central schedule. According to Assistant Principal Brad Metheany, such a structure caused a potential overload for students with multiple finals on the same day.
“In my mind, there’s the big five [subjects] on campus… these major areas of assessment,” Metheany said, referring to English, science, mathematics, social science, and modern language. “[With the previous structure], you could have this monster to study for on one day.”
The idea to alter the structure of senior finals originated during the last school year. Administration proposed the concept to the Faculty Advisory Committee, a group of ten teachers elected by the staff that advises Principal April Scott on non-contractual issues. FAC member and social sciences teacher Bonnie Belshe sent out an email surveying other teachers on their opinions regarding the proposed changes to the finals system.
“Most that responded said, ‘Yes, we are willing to try it to see how it goes,’” Belshe said.
While administration has recommended that teachers abide by the published senior finals schedule, Metheany noted that they cannot mandate them to do so, although he added that he hopes the staff will cooperate.
“Teachers control their classrooms—that’s California [education] code,” Metheany said. “This is not something that we’re going to direct them [to do].”
According to Belshe, as of now, there are no concrete plans to extend the altered finals structures to other grade levels.
“[We’re] starting with senior finals just because it’s easier to try it with senior finals than to try and figure out finals week for everyone in the school,” Belshe said.
She added that the staff will gauge the success of the new finals format by soliciting feedback from teachers and students after the exams have been administered. As such, it remains to be seen whether the new senior finals structure will be continued next year.