As 2020 is coming to a close, the senior class wrapped up its first semester as they prepared for virtual finals.
Senior Ian MacMiller said, “I am more nervous for this year’s finals because these are the last grades colleges will see when making their decisions on who to accept for the upcoming year.”
Although finals are stressful for all grades, this set of exams served as the last grades many seniors will send to colleges. Teachers advised students to prepare for finals as though they were on campus.
Senior Matthew Halm said, “I definitely feel less prepared than last year. To be honest, it’s been more difficult for me to absorb information through online classes than in in-person meetings, so overall I feel like I’m not as on top of the material as I would like to be.”
The online learning environment has affected both the teachers and the students. Teachers are aware of the difficulty of learning online; therefore, they have taken many steps to ensure that the students can be as successful as possible when finishing their 1st semester.
French teacher Lori Crawford-Dixon said, “It is definitely challenging to reimagine how to assess student learning during our online platform. I’ve had to replace many of the open-ended activities I prefer with multiple choice questions, which limits what the students are able to express in French.”
In order to conduct the exam in an environment where no student has an advantage over another, the administration permitted the use of the Proctorio extension once again. However, limits were set on the program’s use. The web camera function was disabled, as it raised many privacy concerns. Instead, teachers activated the functions that record the computer screen and any web traffic on the students’ computer while the exam is being taken, similar to the use of Canvas’ lockdown browser.
Senior Thomas Larson said, “Two of my teachers are opting to give me either a paper or another form of a project instead of a final.”
Some teachers have opted out of giving a final exam and are giving their students a final assignment. Aware of the stress that finals may bring, teachers offered some words of advice. English teacher Jason Schmidt said, “Don’t cram and sleep well.”
Crawford Dixon added, “Come up with a game plan of how you will study for each final: schedule blocks of time with plenty of breaks, so that your review of the material is thorough but you don’t exhaust yourself. Be confident in your ability to do well on your exams, knowing you’ve put the necessary work into preparing for them.”