The Voice of Wakefield High School

The Howler

The Voice of Wakefield High School

The Howler

The Voice of Wakefield High School

The Howler

Should the timing of finals be shifted?

Staff Graphic by Yusha Ahsan
With winter break over, students are now preparing for their upcoming finals. With this, a question is raised about whether finals should be moved to before winter break or not.

As Wakefield High School’s first semester comes to a close, finals approach students with full force, raising the question amongst students and staff: should finals be before or after winter break? Currently, Wakefield High School runs on a schedule that places finals after winter break and then transitions students into the second semester. Finals for the fall semester this year run between Jan. 12 to Jan. 22 with students not required to attend school the days they do not have finals.

Robyn Dembisky is an anatomy, genetics and biology teacher who discusses why the timing of finals should be moved. 

“I think [finals] should be before break [because it] would be more aligned with the CCP [Career and College Promise] classes and for the people preparing for university,” Dembisky said. “Since I am an EOC teacher, getting students to refocus and have purpose after break is really challenging.” 

Shifting finals to before winter break would also mean having to shift the entire school calendar to accommodate the content that students need to learn. Kerry Regan is an AP Calculus and math three teacher who talks about the calendar change. 

“If we are going to have [finals] before winter break, we need to do a calendar change to where we start school earlier in August, so then we could be done and have summer by Memorial Day,” Regan said.

Having finals in December would mean the material is all fresh in your brain, you don’t lose any of it and over the break, you can actually decompress and rest.

— Regan

Teachers are also allotted much more needed time to better prepare for the spring semester with finals out of the way before winter break. 

“Right now, we have this weird exam week period, then we have a day to prep and then we start the second semester, and as a teacher, if I had a couple of weeks with exams along with break, I would have more time to work and prepare for the second semester,” Dembisky said. 

Snow days are an important factor to consider during the spring semester as they cut needed days and make it more difficult for teachers to teach everything in an AP course. 

“The spring is already shorter and we just keep pushing it [with snow days] and timing gets tight with AP classes,” Dembisky said. “We don’t start until almost February and the exams are in May, so it’s hard to teach a one-semester AP course in the spring.” 

Some may think having finals after break gives students time to better prepare, however, that’s not always the case as it could lead students to forget most of the material. 

“I think it depends on the person [whether or not they feel more prepared over break] because some people may be going on vacation, but if someone typically stays at home maybe they would have more time to study,” junior Chelsey Akpaka said. “Personally, I feel like I forget everything [as] I’m not thinking about school over break.”

Camryn Ledwith is a sophomore who thinks otherwise when it comes to the timing of finals. She believes that final exams should stay as they are now, after winter break.

“Before winter break no one is really focused as after Thanksgiving, everyone’s like ‘okay let’s focus on Christmas and get there,’” Ledwith said. “I think it’s better to take it after so you can have these last few weeks to get your grades up and then after break, you can lock in on exams; teachers only focus on finals too, so I think that’s helpful.” 

Having finals before break can, however, lead to a smoother transition into the second semester as students have the break to truly take some time off. 

 “Having finals in December would mean the material is all fresh in your brain, you don’t lose any of it and over the break, you can actually decompress and rest,” Regan said. “I think it would be good for your mental health to have that time where you are not worried about the courses from the first semester.” 

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