Adjustments to final exam weighting, schedule


The first semester final exam schedule spans four days with two 80-minute exams per day. Longer breaks in the schedule allow some students with testing accommodations to finish their exam in one sitting. Information compiled by Jenna Amusin

Jenna Amusin and Brooke Falk

Using the online RogerHub Final Grade Calculator, junior Danny Bruns tried to determine the grade he would need on his first semester final exam in Advanced Placement U.S. History, also known as APUSH, to keep his A in the class. Bruns then realized he could hypothetically not take the test at all.

“It started as a joke between my friends that if I could get my grade up a little higher I could simply not take the final thanks to the decreased weighting of finals this year,” Bruns said in a video conference.

Bruns has three classes with lowered final exam weighting, including biology with biology teacher Kathy Gutierrez and APUSH.

Gutierrez said in a video conference that she lowered the final exam weighting in her classes this year from 20 percent to 10 percent. She said a major factor in her decision was the lack of in-class review time due to shortened, 80-minute blocks.

“10 percent is still enough for the student to show us that they’ve mastered the material, but it’s not to the point where if something does go wrong on that one single day during that 80-minute block, that it’s going to bring their grade down,” Gutierrez said.

According to Bruns, students in his biology class smiled and clapped when Gutierrez informed them of the lower weighting.

Ed Solis, associate principal of curriculum and instruction, said in a video conference that every year, final exam weighting is determined by all teachers of each course together and is then approved by the department’s Instructional Supervisor.

The final exam weighting for most classes is still 20 percent, but all teachers considered changing the weighting for remote learning, Solis said.

Math teacher Penn Phillips said in an email correspondence that he plans for the final exam in his classes to remain weighted at 20 percent.

“Mathematics typically builds on itself, so by leaving it at 20 percent, that’s my way of showing students how important retaining the information is to their future success in other mathematics courses,” Phillips said.

According to Bruns, knowing that some finals, especially his APUSH final, are weighted less reduces his workload.

“I still have to take [the APUSH exam] with the grade I have now, but I could take it blindfolded and still do well in class,” Bruns said.