Pre-finals stress suggests need for finalized grades


Illustration by Aubrey Palaganas

During finals week a junior student sits down at their desk, opens their chromebook, and clicks on a web browser, then types With three borderline A’s, they realize they have a long week of studying ahead of them, needing upper 80s and lower 90s on their final exams. One of their teachers, however, still has not submitted multiple assignments to the gradebook, and they are left feeling overwhelmed and stressed, unable to gauge their time needed for studying.

Many students, such as senior Reese Laurie, had a similar experience during and before finals because, while they wanted to perform well in every class and on every final, there is not enough time in the weeks leading up to exams to study extensively for every subject.

In lieu of studying, students often rely on calculations of their required final exam grades in order to decide how much time they need to spend studying for each subject. The Rogerhub Final Grade Calculator performs these calculations, requiring a student’s current grade, the weight of their final and the grade they want to end with. When teachers have not finalized grades before finals, however, students are left with a dilemma after PowerSchool shuts down, wondering how much time they need to spend studying.

The Oracle Editorial Board strongly urges the administration to encourage teachers to finalize grades before final exam week. Not knowing where you stand with your grades prior to finals can add stress to an already mentally demanding week.

“I started off with an 81 and my grade wasn’t finalized before finals and I expected to get a B so I wasn’t going to study and prioritize that class as much as I would’ve if it were a low A,” Laurie said. “Obviously I studied for the test, but I ended up with almost an 89 because I didn’t know it was going to be an A in the first place.”

Psychology Teacher Sejal Schullo noted that allowing teachers to have more free time in their schedule during final exams week gives them the extra time they need to get last-minute grading done. While she would like to be able to finalize her students’ grades ahead of time, Schullo said it is difficult work to get done and will likely have a minute effect on semester grades.

“Knowing what you have as a cumulative grade before final exams doesn’t necessarily correlate to the amount of time and effort that you would put into studying for exams,” Schullo said. “I do understand the concept of organizing time [for studying, but] if you’re checking your grade on a grade calculator and then you say, ‘If I study three hours, I should be able to get that [grade],’ I think that lacks validity.”

On the other hand, Ryan Kinsella, social studies teacher, said she prioritizes grading before PowerSchool closes during final exam week. She finds that many students have questions regarding their semester grades that she wants to have settled prior to taking the final. Kinsella understands, however, that grading is time-consuming and can take more time depending on the subject.

“I try to prioritize finalizing grades before Powerschool closes so my students know their grades before taking the final exam,” Kinsella said. “I understand that this isn’t always possible for teachers to do. For example, when I taught elective classes where students were finishing projects through the last week of the semester, I needed more time to grade.”

While grading can be understandably time-consuming and difficult, The Oracle Editorial Board suggests that the administration sets earlier and more frequent deadlines for teachers to submit grades. Students respect teachers’ deadlines and feel that teachers should do the same. Students also benefit strongly from knowing what grade they need to achieve on each final. Some of the stress of finals week can be taken off their shoulders and they can spend their studying time much more wisely.