Final Exam Exemption


Chris Shields and Chris Shields

How final exams will be handled this year has been on the minds of high school parents, students, and teachers since the beginning of the school year. With how drastically different the schedules and protocols of our current schooling situation are, something was bound to be different. Principle Steve Thennis, alongside the school’s department chairs, decided to suspend cumulative final exams this semester. This means that while you may have a test or two next week, none will cover all the material you’ve covered in class this semester. 

Students do not have school on Monday or Friday (January 18th and 22nd), and Tuesday is an “A Day,” Wednesday is a “B Day,” and Thursday is a “C Day.”  

As wacky as this schedule may seem, Mr. Thennis and his team of staff had very clear reasoning for their decision. He said, “The decision to suspend semester exams for this semester was due to a couple of items. First, in case people haven’t noticed, we have been struggling through this global pandemic. I don’t think students needed the added stress of preparing for semester finals, especially when we already have lots of evidence of student learning. Second, just the mechanics of the finals wasn’t going to work… We are limited to this schedule in order to keep our social distancing protocols.” 

Mr. Thennis outlined a few things that he’s expecting from students and teachers as this first half of the year draws to a close. “I have asked the teaching staff to do student – conferencing during this time in order to get a feel for what worked and what didn’t for the first semester. I would also like a discussion to center around goal setting for second semester, especially in the areas of attendance.” 

Thennis also stated that “at this point, after an entire semester, I believe teachers have plenty of evidence to assess their students’ learning in their courses.” This has been an undeniably weird semester of school for all of us and how we’ve persevered through it was a big deciding factor in the status of finals. 

For those students who have been keeping up to date on assignments, finals week will be a cake walk, and for those who haven’t, this time will hopefully benefit them. “Students are to be finishing projects, make-up missing work, in some cases completing retakes. Sadly, many students aren’t taking advantage of this opportunity from what I am hearing from many teachers. We all know this is incredibly challenging, but at some point, everyone needs to engage in their own learning,” Mr. Thennis said. 


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