FHSD Board of Educations Cancels Finals for the Spring Semester


By Amber Winkler

Finals exams in FHSD have not affected students’ grades since the 2019-20 school year. On April 15, with a vote of six members for and one member opposed, the FHSD Board of Education made the decision to officially cancel finals for the spring semester of the 2020-21 school year.

“I was really happy that the board understood where the teachers and students are coming from and that they did what was best for our kids,” English teacher Diane Fingers said. 

It came as no surprise to most when the board made this decision, as they had been previously advised by the FHSD Academic Team to do so. On March 19, an email was sent to all certified staff from the team stating that their official recommendation was that finals be cancelled for the end of the year. They believed that there were too many concerns about the tests taking place. 

“We highlighted a reduced number of standards so that we could really focus to address that learning loss because of the closure in the spring and a lot of our final exams wouldn’t reflect the limited number of standards in some courses, which would require a lot of teachers to rewrite exams,” Chief Academic Officer Dr. Connie Buckman said.

Conditions that led to the decision to cancel first semester finals have not changed. Students remain online with unreliable internet access, test security cannot be assured and COVID-19 still plays a prominent role in student education. Many also felt that the tests were unnecessary in such stressful and uncertain times. 

“I think it will lessen student and teacher stress, especially because there’s no worry of people being quarantined during finals,” sophomore Ella Struble said. “That’s gonna help a lot and also just having a break during this already stressful year is nice.”

Students last took finals in the fall semester of the 2019-2020 school year. The week we were supposed to take finals, we had multiple snow days in a row, this caused students to not be able to ask their teachers questions and review properly. The board made the decision to have finals only to be put in the grade book if it would improve it. Many students chose not to take the final as many teachers made it optional. The spring semester finals for that year were canceled due to the emergence of COVID-19 and our switch to online school. This year, first semester finals were canceled due to uncertainties and many students being quarantined, causing them to miss school and fall behind. Those same reasons were the reasons that the board decided to cancel the finals for the spring.

“I think that we’re not well enough prepared to take them by our teachers,” Struble said. “All together, I don’t think the idea of having an end of course assessment is a problem, but I think the way that it is weighted causes it to hurt student’s grades disproportional to how they actually did in the class.”