Finals are fair – COVID-19 hasn’t changed that

Alih Rangel, Staff Writer

Countless debates have gone around questioning whether or not it is fair to have finals exams this year, since last year was stressful on everyone. Some people have claimed that no, there should be no finals exams, because the COVID-19 pandemic has caused everyone stress, and a year of remote learning could affect the scores students earn on finals exams. But what do the students think? Is there really a reason not to? Or is the panic people feel really caused by something else entirely?

For the 2020-2021 school year, Joliet West did not have finals exams; the year was a riot of confusion, with everything from learning on a computer at home to students slowly returning back to school. Some are wondering if the same should happen again this year, but the truth is that finals exams are beneficial in the long run and students are strong enough to take what they’ve learned and show what they know, despite obstacles that may have occurred in the past.

Hannah Williams, a freshman at Joliet West High School who is preparing to take finals exams for the first time this year, says, “Taking finals is fair because we need to have the experience of finals before we are too far in our high school career. We need to have the experience [this year] for when we take the exams later in high school or college.”

Williams makes the point that it is not unfair to take finals, but certainly unfair to strip freshmen of the experience of finals exams, when they will need that experience later on when the more important exams come along.

Some claim that upcoming finals are placing too much pressure on students after an already stressful year, but what if it’s not the upcoming exams at all? Breidy Vazquez, also a freshman at Joliet West, says, “Personally I think finals aren’t the issue, but more the pressure that teachers put on [students], like all the assignments they give us and pushing them out more.”

Students have worked hard this year, and finals are a chance for them to showcase what they have learned. They say it would not be fair to them to have to put their best effort into their work all semester and not be able to prove how they’ve grown.

“This year is a new year—it doesn’t have to do with last year—so students should feel prepared, because they have a fresh start,” says Kevin Nielsen, a junior at Joliet West. Nielsen claims that after coming back for the 2021-2022 school year, he has taken the new chance he’s been given and used it to the fullest. “I actually pay attention in class now instead of sleeping or asking to go to the bathroom just to get out of class, so this year I do feel prepared for my exams.”

Students are not objecting to taking final exams—they desire to prove that the 2020-2021 school year was difficult on everyone, but they are prepared, and they believe they are strong enough to overcome anything thrown their way.