D303 Administration Makes Decision to Bring Back Final Exams


Laure Schulders

The schedule for final exams on Dec. 15-17. There are three exam periods per day.

Semester finals are returning to St. Charles North High School this semester for the first time in two years after being put on a pause due to COVID-19. This means a lot for students, teachers and parents.

The decision to bring back finals, though, was not a one-person decision and was instead talked about by many different groups. 

“Ultimately, curricular decisions lie within the superintendent, but the decisions often are made at multiple levels,” said Renee Reynolds, Assistant Principal of Instructional Programs. “So building administration has conversations with district-level administration who also have conversations with the superintendent. So it’s multi-layered, but ultimately, the superintendent working in conjunction with the board.”

However, students and teachers alike are having mixed feelings about this big decision. Some students don’t feel they are being listened to by the people in the highest positions in the district.

“We aren’t being told about what’s happening and what discussions are happening higher up. We are just kind of prodded around. It’s like…our opinions, our voices are really not being heard and they’re not mattering because, it’s like the school’s not even trying,” said Henry Baker, sophomore. 

Reynolds confirmed no parents or students were surveyed about the decision to bring back final exams this year.

Teachers also struggled with the late notice on whether D303 was going to have finals.

This year, I would say for many staff and students, I think it feels like we didn’t find out as soon in advance as we would have wanted to know that we were going to be bringing back final exams.” said Lindsay Boynton, social studies teacher.

Now that finals are indeed going to return, teachers and students alike are thinking back on whether or not finals are the best way to assess students’ learning. The effectiveness of finals on determining the learning of students has been questioned throughout the district.

 “I don’t think that multiple choice exams are always the best way to measure a student’s ability on something,” said Boynton. On the other hand, she isn’t against final exams all together. 

It’s not just teachers who have an opinion on whether or not finals are a good way to test students’ learning; students also have strong opinions on the tests that they are taking. 

“It just gives every teacher a very vague way to see if you retain any information,” said Dylan Rosales, senior. 

The first day of finals is Dec. 15, which will be the exams for periods 1, 2, and 7. The second day of finals is Dec. 16, which will be the exams for periods 3, 6, and 8. The third and final day of finals is Dec. 17, which will be the exams for periods 4 and 5, along with time for making up an exam students might have missed on the previous days. 

For some students, especially those who have never taken final exams before, the thought of finals can be daunting.

“We’re kind of being pushed into this with no assistance whatsoever and it feels like we’re not included in the discussion. I don’t think a lot of kids even know that finals are coming back because, you know, learning still hasn’t fully gone back to normal yet,” said Baker.

Some upperclassmen are feeling more confident with finals due to taking them before.

“I’m not looking forward to it, but it’s not the worst thing ever,” said Rosales. “Finals were never that bad. It’s just another thing to study for.”

Even though finals have been brought back for 2021, the future of keeping them or not is still being debated.

“I think if they didn’t bring back finals, it would be because we would be in a learning situation where maybe not every student had the same opportunities to get that instruction,” said Reynolds.