Final exam weight returns back to 20% for the first time since the COVID pandemic

As the pandemic comes to a close, AT administration has looked at reverting back to pre-Covid policies, which includes the weight of final exams for this semester. 

The subject of final exam weights has been up in the air since Covid first hit in 2020 when there was a school year that consisted of no final exams, and last school year when the weight of final exams was lowered from the usual 20% to 10%. 

After the school board reviewed the overall idea of final exams and the weight that they should hold for this school year after having final exams weigh only 10% in both first and second semester last year, they decided on a weight of 20% for the upcoming semester exams. 

However, this may not be an ongoing policy in the future. Both the school board and many of AT’s committees comprised of both teachers and students have been reviewing the idea of final exams. This review of final exams could cause a large shift in the way that they are given and the overall impact they have on a student’s grade as soon as second semester of this school year. 

“It is time for us to take a step back and really probably within each department or even each class to look at what is the final exam structure,” said AT principal Jack Andrews. “So we are committed next semester to kind of take a more comprehensive look at final exams.” 

The revaluation of final exams is set to carry on now until the end of the school year when it looks like final exams may be changed based on classes themselves or within each department. These changes could come in the form of exams changing from just a multiple choice style exam to something that may be more hands on or relative to the curriculum. The changes may also just be a difference in the way that the weight of the exam could vary between classes or departments. 

AT had originally started having final exams weigh 20% due to that being a standard that many schools near AT had been doing, and this has carried on to now from being a traditional standard for the school. 

This standard, however, has been questioned and a new conversation has formed around the topic of final exams to research the implications that a change this big could ultimately have. 

“We talked with students and staff, it was really about having the opportunity to be able to stand behind making a recommendation for a large change so we have been 80/20 for a long long time,” said Andrews. “So it was about if we had done enough to go away from this, have we done enough research, have we had enough conversation to go completely away from this, and the answer was honestly no, we didn’t. So that is what we are committing to next semester, of that being the conversations that have to happen before we go away from it.”

Though the pandemic the need to change the weight of final exams on a dime has caused both administration and students to muster up a conversation on if final exams are in a need for a change and what a change with final exams would look like.