Finals before break not so bad, especially for students

February 1, 2010 — by Girish Swaminath and Brandon Yang

Teachers and administrators have been thinking of instituting finals before winter break for several years now, and some teachers have taken the matter into their own hands by scheduling their own early finals—sometimes to the dismay of their colleagues.

Some teachers who adhered to the real schedule were upset about the “rebels,” as the changes affected the students in their classes, forcing them to rearrange their lesson plans accordingly for the benefit of the students. Similarly, some activities, such as sports, needed to change their schedule because the students participating can no longer attend and stay home studying instead. It must be noted, though, that having early finals was not nearly as controversial among students, since they would have fewer finals to study for during and after break.

Since finals are nearly worth the same as midterms in many classes, the two forms of assessments should be treated similarly. Though there are no set dates for midterms like the schedule for finals, few concerns exist over the effect of midterms on student stress. Some teachers lighten the homework load when they hear other teachers are having midterms, while others continue with class as usual. Likewise, activities like sports should respond the way they would to midterms, rescheduling or continuing accordingly.

Having a few early finals is the middle ground between the current schedule and finals before break. It diffuses the pressure of finals over several weeks, alleviating some of the pain of studying. Early finals do not affect other classes or activities any more than midterms do, which are not regulated. Although teachers should be concerned if other classes decrease students’ performances in their classes, early finals are more of a blessing than a curse for students.

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