Should Huntley High School cancel finals?

By Natalie VonderHeide

As Huntley’s 2019-2020 school year comes to an end, the most stressful time of the year approaches, but with some social distancing put into place. Traditionally, finals occur on the last three days of both semesters and create a multitude of stress among students.

With the recent COVID-19 outbreak, students are unable to be present in normal classrooms and continue their education in person. This causes many students to fend for themselves. Most content being taught at the moment is an altered, or easier, way of learning for grades to remain the same or go up, but how will they accommodate to finals? 

The district has yet to send out any information regarding the most stressful time of the year, but most of the student population agrees that finals should be cancelled. 

Sophomore Karen Marturano is used to the typical independent learning because she is enrolled in the Vanguard program. Although, without the same support of being in the classroom, teaching the content to herself, and being expected to test on it, is not something that she believes would give her the best grade possible. 

“Since most teachers were not able to teach the material to us. We had to learn it ourselves through assignments, it would be harder to translate that knowledge to the test,” Marturano said. “Overall, I think I would do pretty bad on a test that covers material I taught to myself.”

When students teach themselves material, is it right to test them? Another question arises with testing: how would faculty know students aren’t cheating? Some teachers have been making students turn their webcams on when testing to make sure there is no foul play occurring, but what about students that have 504s or other accommodation plans? Putting a student in a position where they feel more anxiety and stress on a topic that already contains that, is unfair.

Brian Thornley teaches a blended math class, and while his students know how learning outside of school works, other teachers have to find solutions or a way to transition their class. 

“We have completely shifted to online learning in a matter of days, which is an adjustment to some [teachers],” Thornley said. 

Students should not be expected to do well on tests and assignments when most of the content we are learning is taught to ourselves. Expecting teenagers to test at their full potential with new topics, can be challenging and not something they should have to worry about. 

“All of our lives have changed over these past few weeks,” Thornley said. “The dynamic has changed and finals are not the most important thing to focus on at this time.”