Snow day woes: A call for Kirkwood to adapt finals (Mary Grace Heartlein)
Snow day woes: A call for Kirkwood to adapt finals

Mary Grace Heartlein

Snow day woes: a call for Kirkwood to adapt finals

December 17, 2019

A snow day is usually a cause for universal excitement among students, but on Sunday, Dec. 15, the announcement was met with widespread anxiety. Monday’s snow day would eliminate a valuable day of review before finals week. When Tuesday, was called off as well, panic intensified. KSD announced that school would be canceled on the first day of finals and students will make up their second-hour exam after winter break. For many students, this change means a more stressful break and a more difficult final. Beyond that. missed days will affect all exams since students will not have been in class for between four and six days before they take the final. Online materials and out-of-class work are not sufficient to prepare students for the most influential tests of the semester. Changes to testing under these circumstances are not unprecedented, as some school districts have already opted for optional or risk-free finals. The bottom line is the added stress of these cancellations will undoubtedly affect grades this semester, and KSD needs to adjust exams accordingly.

“I feel less prepared because I’m not in class before my finals. I definitely feel more stressed [because of the snow days] and it’s already pretty stressful since this is my first finals week.”

— Aine Bradley, freshman

The outright panic over missing these two days exposes a larger problem with the entire system of final exams: the fact that so much pressure is put on the outcome of a four-day testing marathon, outweighing months of work during the year. At this point, students have been in school for four months. A student’s current grade in each class represents a cumulative effort compiled over all of the assignments and tests since the start of the year. And yet, in one two-hour testing period, a student could compromise all of their hard work. For some, the final is an important opportunity to improve their grade. Students with a percentage close to a cutoff have a chance to work hard and push themselves to that next letter grade. But the emphasis should be on giving students the chance to improve themselves, not the pressure to justify the work they’ve already put in. Not to say the outcome of one final could drive an A, B or even C grade into downright flunking a class, but even dropping a single letter grade will have lasting effects on a student’s transcript and GPA. This pressure is an annual problem during finals week, but this year it is compounded by the fact that we’ve now missed two valuable days of review. For a regular test in any class, this drastic change in schedule would almost certainly mean a change in plans. So for a test as important as the final, the same should be true.

I don’t want to make up my final after break. It’s not that bad, but I don’t want to think about it over [winter] break.”

— Marni Knapp, sophomore

Districts like Wentzville, Lindbergh, Francis Howell, and Fort Zumwalt have already shifted their exam schedule due to the snow days, making some or all of the finals optional or risk-free (they can only help your grade). Kirkwood should follow the lead of these districts and adapt to the unique circumstances of this finals week. With the missed review time and last-minute schedule changes, students are bound to underperform on their exams this semester. Finals should be made risk-free, like at Wentzville, to give students the chance to bolster their grade, but not sink it. We have to remember that the purpose of school is learning and improvement, not threat of failure.

When the KHS administration makes their next decisions, they need to prioritize the wellbeing of students as other districts have done, even if this means making some unprecedented changes. No one could control the weather but they can decide how we adapt and give students the best chances of success despite this unexpected obstacle. I would ask them to remember the intent of the school is not to work against students, but to encourage their advancement.


If you agree that KSD should make changes to finals this year sign this petition.

*Disclaimer: This is not the opinion of The Kirkwood Call as a whole. TKC itself does not have a stance on changes to finals. The petition is sponsored by students not TKC.


7 Responses to “Snow day woes: a call for Kirkwood to adapt finals”

  1. Abbi declue on December 17th, 2019 11:56 am

    finals require a lot of preparation and without being in the classroom a lot of students like myself missed out on important materials in order to prepare for them. You can only take so much work home!

  2. Emilie John on December 17th, 2019 11:59 am

    i understand that finals are important to our grades and school but taking our 2nd hour final after winter break. it dan ruin our holiday break. out break is suppose to be non-stressful. you get to spend time with your family, celebrate the thing you support, and get to worry about things other then school for the first time in a while.

  3. Nat on December 17th, 2019 12:06 pm

    Make finals risk free!! I will not be thinking about taking a test on that Monday when I’m with my family

  4. Naomi Thomson on December 17th, 2019 12:28 pm

    I can’t wait to have my 2nd hour final looming in the back of my mind all winter break 🙂

  5. Sarah Tilly on December 17th, 2019 12:35 pm

    As a freshman, i’m already nervous enough for finals. As this is my first experience with finals, the stress of having to take one after a semester break seems even more stressful. I do not want to be think about world history while trying to celebrate the holidays with family that i only get to see a few times a year. it’s not realistic.

  6. Claire Sutter on December 17th, 2019 12:46 pm

    Having the second hour final after break is stressful enough, but on top of the lack of class review days it’s nearly unbearable. I can’t wait to walk into my History final tomorrow with a page full on unasked questions and self doubt 🙂

  7. Zach Baynham on December 17th, 2019 1:00 pm

    Missing two valuable days of review has made these past two snow days miserable. All I can think about is how I could be at school getting help from my teachers. Make finals risk free!!

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