Finals through distance learning, really? Yes

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Image of the word “finals” and words associated with the word.

Due to distance learning and the weather, students found themselves dealing with internet connectivity issues that momentarily interrupted them y from being able to take their finals. Many felt anxious thinking about how finals testing would look like before weather played any role. Fortunately though, students did well despite the adverse circumstances. The week of Jan. 19-22, saw winds tremendously which affected students’ internet connection and their ability to successfully complete final assignments and exams.

The power was out from 9:30 a.m.- 6 p.m., recalled junior Alma Zurita. There was nothing she could do, but simply wait for the power to come back and email her teachers promptly. In the end, Zurita was able to reschedule to take her finals, as planned. Although, even with power some students felt uneasy about taking their finals through Zoom. 

“I’ve never been a good test taker…I was nervous too about the time constraints….we would have block schedule in person, so we would have more time… I was nervous about not finishing on time,” senior Sahel Schaab said. 

Because the distance learning schedule only allows for three classes a day,, students have a smaller amount of time to finish their assessments. However, one can not help but ask if this prepares students for the real tests that they will have to take in the future, once we return to normal. This was a concern shared by students and teachers alike. 

“I was a little disappointed to find out we weren’t going to have those two hour windows…it doesn’t give you the same time constraints as the real AP exam,” English teacher Antoinette Perez said.

Even though this different time constraint can affect the students in the future, it doesn’t stop students from performing well. To her surprise, Perez’s third period AP Lang class all scored in the green for the test. This meant all of her students scored above “what students really aim for” this time of year. In her other AP Language class she had all but two students score in the green. 

Perez poses with her third period AP Language class before a lecture.

This great success was due to the preparation that students had done. Given the results proved that students took responsibility into their own hands, despite their circumstances. Weeks prior to the final,  Perez released “a lot more videos, practice prompts, practice multiple choice” and she encouraged her students to utilize AP Classroom. 

The college board provides practice tests to better the student making them more confident as they take their AP exam that will determine if the student receives college level credits for the class selected. However, these helpful tools and practice tests were not mandatory. The help was there for the students that didn’t feel prepared. This nervousness was shared by many students, one being Schaab, mentioned previously. 

“It was almost more stressful, even though I had less finals because I was just kind of unsure about it…I just didn’t feel prepared,” Schaab said. 

Some felt unprepared while some were fortunate to have teachers that gave them the materials necessary to prepare themselves. Ultimately, it is up to us to adapt to the changes and just try our best, remembering that no matter where we go to school, tests are going to be essential. 

“It gives us a better understanding of where our students are, where they are performing, and where we as teachers could do better,” Perez said.