Finals Renamed and Restructured for the End of First Semester


The Sources of Strength Club brainstorms how to use the access period after finals. “Students have a flexible time period in the afternoon where students can get help, finish projects, or whatever is needed,” O’Connor said.

Anthony Steffens, Ranger Review Reporter

The Lewis-Palmer High School administration is planning a restructuring of the final assessments of December 13th through the 16th. After a 2 year break from finals and a new perspective on assessments after the pandemic, the name has changed and it has a focus on individual classes.

“We are purposely changing the name to meaningful summative assessment practices, not necessarily finals as they’ve been known before,” Bridget O’Connor Principal said. “I’m hoping that what we presented to teachers thus far is mindful and thoughtful about what the best way is to wrap up a semester of learning for their course.”

The main point of the reform is to tailor the tests to every class to accurately assess the particular skills covered in each course.

“We start with a checklist because some classes do lend themselves to a traditional multiple choice test, like AP classes,” O’Connor said. “Some of the electives are more project based and we want to give teachers the flexibility to do what makes the most sense to their class.”

The administration came to this conclusion from lots of feedback from students. A new view on finals after the pandemic contributed to the plan.

“We looked at mental health and what the stress that traditional finals puts on students. Teachers tried some different things last year and found it measured learning a lot more effectively than a traditional test,” O’Connor said. “I think one of the good things that’s come out of COVID is that it made all of us rethink what we were doing and why we were doing it.”

The finals before the break varied much from year to year and were inconsistent between classes. The new structure gives students and teachers breathing room when it comes to planning and test-taking.

“We had some classes that gave pretty high stakes long finals, but some didn’t have a culminating activity at all. Having a party in one class, and then a hard final in another is not very helpful to students,” O’Connor said. “The new schedule was developed to protect the mental wellness of both our students and our staff. We very intentionally scheduled two finals a day and a hefty review and access period. Students have that time available, and teachers have the time to work.”

Regarding how COVID has affected education, O’Connor thinks that it’s too soon to tell if students have benefited from the new perspective. 

“There may be some learning gaps, and I think it’s good to be back, but it’s gonna take time to see,” O’Connor said. “What your mindset is really affects the outcome. If you focus on the loss, then you’re going to continue to be sad. Focusing on the good and building on what did come out of COVID will give a valuable new viewpoint on education.”