New “final experience” schedule defeats the purpose of reducing stress

From the June, 2018 print issue of The Bradford

As the school year winds down, the high school is prepar-ing to execute its first attempt at a reworked final exam period. dubbed the “final experience”. In principle, the idea of reducingstress with this new schedule isnoble; yet, spreading out the final exam period has adversely created too much work and stress upfront.

First, final exams and experience projects will still count for sixteen percent of core class grades, the same as in past years. Now, however, the final assessment period started on Monday, June 4 and finishes on Wednes-day, June 20, lasting slightly more than two weeks. During this period, each color block has seven hours of class time dedicated to their assessments and/or experiences, and the last two hours of all color blocks will be devoted to classes “wrapping up their final assessments/experiences,” according to the high school administration’s bulletin.

The administration and some teachers found the previous final exam system flawed since the schedule had students take two final exams per day in the final week of school, causing a stressful and abrupt end to students’ core classes.

While I do believe that end-ing the year with exams instead of a final hour reflecting was an unfitting way to end school, I do not believe the previous final examination period was broken in the first place. The contents of the non-English class exams and projects felt justified, and along with the stress this complete overhaul has caused the administration, the actual contents of the new finals schedule might be overkill.

Creating this new schedule, ironically, has created much more stress for teachers, several of which have now had to retool their syllabus to fit the schedule. Consequently, classes have crammed work typically meant for the final three weeks of the year into the week prior to the period, including previous final exams. This has caused significant stress for students that was easily avoidable in the first place.

Moreover, the sense of confusion over the schedule has preoccupied students with yet another situation that detracts from actual learning. Much of that confusion came with the subpar communication about the developments of the exam period from teachers and administrators over the course of the year.

The administration did send some informative newsletters about the overall aims of lengthening the final exam period, but the lack of specific updates coming from departments created many of the rumors and speculations that have made the finals schedule so preoccupying.

While I understand that each department has spent long hours trying to create their “final experience,” it would have been helpful if each department had provided students with a quick monthly update, even if the update was that they were unsure of the plans for the final period. This would have helped students focus better on their work.

Now that we are underway into the “final experience”, all we can do is go through the schedule as best we can, and, in the spirit of the process, reflect on its effectiveness and find ways the administration can adjust it next year. Hopefully, the end of future school years will run more smoothly now that a new schedule is in place and that the drastic overhaul to the end of this year does not tarnish the overall efforts students have made for the entire year.

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