Finished with finals

A look at the faculty test calendar page for the last week of Q3 – Index Staff

“Do you know where the study guide is?” and “Did you make a quizlet yet?” flood the hallways and drown out other conversations. Stress fills many classrooms. Teachers worry about meeting grading deadlines as students scramble to complete last minute assignments.

Many students experience the effects of sleep deprivation, but the content continues until hopefully a brief class reviews everything learned throughout roughly 165 days of class. Constant checking of the grade book, and some students still jittering due to the five Red Bull drinks they had in the past 24 hours. Finals week.

     In the 2020-2021 school year a new schedule has changed a lot of things at Haverford. Most notably, the school decided final examinations will not continue with the new schedule.

     “It came down to prioritizing, which this year made us do in ways that the school has not had to in previous years,” Upper School Head Mr. Mark Fifer said. “There is definitely an increase in classes doing project-based work.”

     Teachers in recent years have elected for more project-based cumulative assignments, and with reasonable logic. Why base nearly 30 percent of a student’s grade off of their test taking ability?

     “No exams have definitely been one of the best parts of this year,” Fifth Former Trey Campbell said. “Projects and group assignments are easier to prepare for.”

“I think it’s beneficial to not have a final. This year with having a gap between quarters, it would be hard to remember a lot of things from the previous quarter.”

Kieran Bradley ’21

     After last year, Fifth Formers only final examination was two years ago–unlike the Sixth Formers who have had half of their high school with a final exam, and half without.

     “I think it’s beneficial to not have a final,” Sixth Former Kieran Bradley said. “This year with having a gap between quarters it would be hard to remember a lot of things from the previous quarter.”

     “Next year the schedule will look similar in ways, but we will have to evaluate what finals will look like next year,” Mr. Fifer said.

     Cumulative assignments stepped into the roll of final exams in the COVID-19 school year. As things begin getting back to normal, will Haverford leave final exams in the past?

     “We are going to make revisions to the quarter block schedule, but in terms of final exams that is something we are going to have to figure out,” Mr. Fifer said.

     “It is going to come down to prioritizing whether we do a designated exam day or have another day designated to teaching.”