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Finals weight reduced to 10 percent

Junior+Natalie+Buckwold+starts+preparing+for+this+year%27s+final+exams+using+a+review+binder.+This+year%27s+final+exams+will+count+for+less+than+previously.
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Finals weight reduced to 10 percent

Junior Natalie Buckwold starts preparing for this year's final exams using a review binder. This year's final exams will count for less than previously.

Junior Natalie Buckwold starts preparing for this year's final exams using a review binder. This year's final exams will count for less than previously.

photo by Kate Sosland

Junior Natalie Buckwold starts preparing for this year's final exams using a review binder. This year's final exams will count for less than previously.

photo by Kate Sosland

photo by Kate Sosland

Junior Natalie Buckwold starts preparing for this year's final exams using a review binder. This year's final exams will count for less than previously.

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In a departure from past policy, final exams for CESJDS’ 2017-2018 school year will be worth ten percent of the grade for the year. In previous years, finals were worth 14 percent of the year’s grade.

According to High School Principal and Associate Head of School Dr. Marc Lindner, the old policy was based on a school year with a trimester, as opposed to a quarter system. The new change fits better with the current semester schedule. 

Lindner said that another component of the decision was recent conversations about students’ stress.

Junior Tamar Eisen thinks that the change will make the finals season less stressful. Since finals have less of an effect on her overall year grade, she feels like she can now be less concerned about her grade on the actual exam.

“I can actually be a little less stressed about what grade I need to get and focus more on what content I need to be studying,” Eisen said.

Eisen also said that she does not think it is fair to give one test that can greatly impact a year grade in general. She said students work hard all year for a grade and having a bad day during the final should not impact the final grade too much.

According to English department chair Thomas Worden, however, final exam grades rarely make a difference in year grades. 

“The changes are so incremental that you have to do really well and be borderline, or do really, really poorly and be borderline, for it to matter,” Worden said. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve entered final exams and within a couple of hundreds or tenths of a percentage point, the grade remains the same.”

Worden said that English department will not alter the way they create the final exam this year. Although final grades will now be less important when calculating year grades, Lindner still sees value in teaching students to take major tests, especially for preparation for exams in college. He does not foresee JDS getting rid of final exams altogether. He is open to discussions about which classes and grades take finals.

“Personally I would not be in favor of eliminating final exams,” Lindner said. “I believe that they really do have value for students in taking them.”

Worden also thinks that final exams are helpful for students.  Finals are often a way for him to see if a student is ready for college.

“As far as a learning experience, I think it’s really a good thing to do to wrap everything up and to test those skills one more time,” Worden said. “More often than not, those cumulative experiences really tell me whether a student has been able to make it to the next level. It’s really important as part of the learning experience.”

This story was featured in the Volume 35, Issue 6 print edition of The Lion’s Tale, published on May 30, 2018.

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