Finals are something that every class is required to give and every student is required to take. In the past, finals have been half days in order for students to be able to go home and study, and teachers to start grading. However, this year the schedule has changed. In the 2019 school year, HR made the switch to all day finals.
Instead of each final taking only an hour and a half and school ending the day at around 11-12 a.m., each final is three hours long and students are at school from 7:35 to 2:40 just like a normal day. Julia Caley, assistant principal, said, “I believe that in DCSD, Highlands Ranch is the only school trying this schedule.”
Chris Page, principal, said, “The main reason we changed it was to get instructional minutes. Whenever we make changes in our schedule, that impacts the amount of instructional minutes, so going to all day finals helps with that.” The second issue was the buses, as the buses couldn’t get to school until 2:40, meaning a lot of kids had to wait at school for the buses to arrive.
As far as the schedule goes, the first hour of the three is a “review hour” where a teacher can choose for it to be required or optional, and that review hour is followed by a two hour final. However, after the first of the two hours students that are done with the final can leave if the teacher allows them to.
One concern with the new final is that students will rush to leave after the first hour. To this concern, Caley said, “I do think we have concerns about this. This happens during any final. Some students are done 30 minutes in and others take two hours, and we don’t pressure any student to finish early.”
What is lost without that half of a day off school is time for teachers to grade and time for students to study. Some students have practice or work after school, and they used that half day to study before practice or work. Senior Morgan Garcia said, “I have to work after school and now I have to take shifts off in order to study, which really isn’t fair to the students.”
Teachers also used that half day to grade finals and now have to make up that lost time. Science teacher Kent Osborne said, “I have to set up my final to be easy to grade, so I don’t get stuck behind as probably most teachers do.”
In response to the grading, Caley said, “Grading is a problem without that extra half day, but teachers do what they need to do to grade. I know they will get it done. It’s just going to have to be more on their own time than at school.”
Whether or not this is a long term schedule for finals is yet to be seen. When asked this, Caley said, “I don’t know if we have that answer yet. We want to see how it goes and how it impacts student grades.”
Nathan Kuhta, Publicity Chair