Naperville Central holds finals for first time in two years following pandemic

Sarayu Suresh, Staff Writer

Despite changes in students’ learning, Naperville Central has decided to keep finals logistically the same as they were in December of 2019, the last final exams that Naperville Central held before the pandemic hit. 

The Thursday before final exams was set aside for review, followed by three days of finals each  composed of three 100-minute exam periods. A makeup period will be available at the end of the day tomorrow, Tuesday, Dec. 21. 

While the logistics of final exams will stay similar to past years, teachers have more flexibility this year than they have had in the past.   

“As compared to two years ago,  teachers have been strongly encouraged to take into account that the student learning experience right now is different… as they shaped their final exams,” said principal Bill Wiesbrook.

Some teachers have decided to change their final exams from previous years. Mike Ortiz, Spanish Teacher at Naperville Central, has removed significant portions from the final exams in some of his classes. 

“The proficiency levels we normally tend to see students when they arrive to us varies significantly compared to previous years,” Ortiz said. 

Other schools in the area have been doing things differently. Hinsdale Central High School has changed final exams from December 2019. Furthermore, Hinsdale Central will be conducting “No Harm Finals” this year, meaning final exams are optional and can only increase a student’s final grade. 

“Our students were expressing to us high levels of anxiety, especially around finals because we have two full grades that have never taken a final exam before,” said Jessica Hurt, the assistant principal for curriculum and instruction at Hinsdale Central. 

While District 204 won’t have “No Harm Finals” like Hinsdale schools, teachers and the administration understand that this year is different. 

“All courses will have some sort of final exams,” said Melissa Wilson, assistant principal for curriculum and instruction at Neuqua Valley. “Freshmen and sophomores have never taken a final exam. We placed emphasis on ‘preparation week’ and we’re really honing on how we can help students prepare.” 

In order to prepare students, Neuqua Valley teachers reviewed exam formats with students and gave adequate time in class for practice questions. 

Simisola Smith-Pariola, sophomore at Naperville Central High School says that final exams have been exhausting for her and many students. 

“I’ve had to prepare for six other summative assessments this week. Then on top of that I have to prepare for finals,” said Smith-Pariola. 

Overall, Weisbrook stands by the decision to keep finals the same as previous years for Naperville Central. 

“The [final exam] experience that students are about to encounter should be very similar to what students are encountering in college… it’s good preparation for what’s coming next,” said Wiesbrook.