Should an A in a class get you out of a final?


Junior Kayla Shields works hard on her schoolwork while preparing for her final exams that will be approaching at the end of May, hoping to keep her A’s in her classes. Photo by Bella Aprilliano

From the end of August to the beginning of June, many Mercy students are overwhelmed by the pressure of high school. Students work hard in their classes so they can achieve the grades they wish to receive. However, by the end of the school year, students dread the biggest fear factor: final exams. Besides being a source of stress, some students, seniors especially, feel they are not even necessary. A lot of students walk into a final exam with an A, typically proving they understand the basic concepts taught in the class. Therefore, why should students have to take a final exam after they acquire an A in the class?

Currently at Mercy, final exams are worth 20% of a final grade. Therefore, if a student has a 92.5% in the class, which is the lowest possible A , she needs to receive a 92.5% on the final to keep that A. This is extremely difficult to do, as it is hard to receive an A on a final when you are tested on everything you have leaned over the past five months.

It definitely becomes an issue when a student does not do as well on the final exam as she had hoped, and her grade drops to an A- or lower. Clearly, students recognize what they learn in the class and understand the concepts if they have an A in the class, so it is frustrating when they lose this letter grade.

“If you work hard enough to have an A in the class, you should not have to take a final because your grade reflects that you do know the material,” said junior Kayla Shields.

Allowing students to skip finals in a class where they have an A would help them devote more time and focus to the classes where they do not have an A. By lightening the load on students and limiting the amount of finals they have to take, they can focus more on classes where they are struggling more. 

One option would be only offering this concept as an opportunity for  seniors, since they have already taken dozens of final exams throughout their years in high school. Certain schools currently offering students this privilege include Detroit Catholic Central (CC) in Novi. This private, all boys school allows second semester seniors to not have to take their final exams if they have an A in the class. It is a given that many seniors by second semester are mentally “checked out” and have little motivation to finish high school off strong. However, this privilege given by CC motivates seniors to still try their hardest in their last semester of high school so they will not have to take a final. This policy certainly helps seniors to not slack off and still perform the best they can before heading off to college. Certainly, if freshmen, sophomores, and juniors were also granted the privilege to not have to take a final exam their second semester if they maintain an A by the end of the semester, they also would try their hardest throughout.

“If Mercy granted us this privilege for second semester in any grade or just as seniors, I would honestly be so relieved,” said junior Nicole Yaekle. “I know it would motivate me as well to really try my hardest throughout the semester, so I won’t be cramming for a final in the end.”

It is a big step to grant this to students, as final exams have always been a requirement at Mercy and many other high schools and truly do help students gather and remember information taught over the course of the semester. However, if students give it their all throughout the semester, studying for tests, spending hours on projects or papers, and completing their homework on time pushing for that A, shouldn’t they deserve to end the semester with an A? One final exam grade should not be the factor to determine a student’s grade in a class, which is why I believe if a student has put in hard work to achieve an A in a class, she should be given the right to not have to take a final exam to obtain the well-deserved A.