NDB should exempt seniors with A’s from spring finals


The Catalyst / Genevieve Klein

Seniors often feel bombarded with their schedules, even towards the end of the year.

At Mercy HS and Serra HS, it is as simple as this: If you earn an A in a class as a senior, you don’t have to take the final exam. While NDB doesn’t have to align all of its academic policies with Tri-School, on this issue, it should.

It doesn’t seem right that NDB seniors are not given this opportunity, while two of the three schools are. Although NDB is a college preparatory institution, which comes with added expectations of academic rigor, so are Serra and Mercy. NDB collaborates with these schools throughout the year and has a similar mission, and yet they have this special rule and we don’t. 

Being required to take a final even if we are performing well in a subject puts added pressure on seniors, who are occupied with graduation responsibilities and already feel like we have one foot out the door. 

“If [we have] an A in a class, [we] have to worry about our grade possibly dropping,” said senior Hailey Hobson. “Additionally, we already have a lot on our plates because finals are at the end of our senior year.” 

For classes where a student has a B or lower, the final can be a chance to raise their grade, yet in subjects for which they have an A, it poses a daunting threat of causing their grade to drop. Even if just a few classes followed this policy, the tension for seniors throughout the finals season would decrease.

A change to the finals policy has been discussed by the curriculum council, a leadership team consisting of administrators and staffulty, but ultimately has been ruled against. 

“There are multiple components for my reasoning as to why we do not have this option for seniors,” said Associate Head of School for Curriculum and Instruction Jolanda Breazeale. “It has been revisited multiple time, [but] because of all the potential areas of confusion, there would need to be very clear instructions for this special privilege for seniors that everyone could embrace and understand. I am willing to continue the conversation to move this option forward.  However, I am invested in finding a solution that will address as many concerns as possible while still supporting our curriculum.”

If clear boundaries and rules were set, I’m sure all seniors would be willing to comply and would be grateful for the opportunity. Conversations about implementing this policy should continue for next year.

Seniors who have attained the highest letter grade for a class should be excused from the final. Being held to the same standards as these other two schools would be very beneficial and bring much relief for seniors from the burden of finals.