Editorial: Should students have to take finals in advanced academics courses?

The Editorial Board

Some students in advanced academics courses feel pressure to succeed in high school in order to succeed in college, to succeed in their career, to — it’s obvious where this is going. That is the reason why many students enroll in Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses; they believe their college-level material will give them a step up in university.

They spend all year tirelessly working, so they are ready to prove their knowledge in May. They stress in the months leading up to exams, feeling a wave of relief with each completed test. However, students quickly realize that they have to take finals as well. While some adults in their lives, including parents and teachers, emphasize that semester exams prepare students for college, we on the Editorial Board contend that finals in advanced academic courses are merely a burden for students and teachers alike.

One issue is that finals basically cover the exact same material as the AP/IB exam students already paid almost $100 to take. Another: do finals really prepare students for college? Yes, college has required exams at the end of the semester, but if high school teachers really were to prepare students for college, they would, like college professors, not give exam reviews or require them to go to class. The point is, high school is inherently different from college, and there are better ways to prepare students for higher education than adding another exam to a student’s plate. If administrators really want to use the “it prepares students for college” reasoning, they should acknowledge even university professors do not require students to take two final exams — like high schoolers do with both their advanced and semester exams — for a single course.

One side of the argument that people often do not address is the teachers’ standpoint. Teachers also likely experience stress when scrambling to put together a final exam in the limited time before the school year ends. Teachers waste valuable time doing this, time that could’ve been spent on more important things such as preparing for the next semester. Removing finals from advanced academic classes would take weight off the shoulders of students and teachers alike.

The Eagle Angle Editorial Board asserts that in advanced academic courses where students are already required to take an AP or IB exam, final exams should not also be required. They are unhelpful in terms of college preparation, and burden both students and teachers with unnecessary pressure, wasting time that could have been put toward something beneficial. Removing final exams for advanced academic courses would be logical and easy for schools to do, benefiting everyone involved.