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The Scroll

The Student News Site of Fargo North High School

The Scroll

The Scroll

Return of the Finals Schedule: A good or bad idea?


How would you like to get a reward for passing all of your classes instead of just a pat on the back and some vocal praise? It would surely give me something to be more proud of, and an actual sense of accomplishment; but, fear not, that wasn’t a hypothetical question. The Fargo school board has approved a new incentive for students to be as successful as they can with the implementation of a new end to the school year: The “End of Semester Proficiency Day Pilot Program.”
The End of Semester Proficiency Day Program is new, but draws on the former finals schedule that existed pre-Covid. In that schedule, the last three days of the semester were used for finals, with two-hour-long sessions of three class periods a day. In that system, only seniors could opt out of semester finals if they had no more than two non-school related absences and a grade of a C or higher in a class. A combination of required absences related to the Covid pandemic and the shift to EBR (Evidence Based Reporting), dismantled that format and students haven’t had that pressure of a final exam.
The struggle of finishing the semester without the former finals’ schedule was well-felt by teachers. “Especially Evidence Based Grading teachers were feeling like students who had a lot of missing N’s, that they were still responsible for those, so we were having to make up that time outside of class,” said English teacher Emily Schneider.
English teachers had a discussion with principal Travis Christensen, who brought the concerns and suggestions to the district level. The decision to implement the new schedule this semester was officially announced to students and families Feb. 14.
The main goal of this program is to allow students to be as successful as they can – or want – to be. For students with a C or higher, it is entirely up to an individual to take advantage of the ability to get a better grade than the one they currently have, like if they have a B but want an A. However, even if they don’t want to change their grade but have a grade of a D or lower, attendance is still mandatory for those two days. Through this program, they’re hoping that this will successfully motivate students to get their grade up ahead of time.
It seems that part is already working. When junior Erika Rosa learned about the change, she decided it was time to improve her grades. “I think that they do really keep people on track ahead of time, I have personally gotten my grades up from failing or close to failing to passing” she said.
Another goal of this new program is to give teachers more time to grade, so they don’t have to cram last minute for grading deadlines. Giving the teachers some more time would lift off some stress, while also giving more attention to those who need it during those last two days.
On some of the stressors that the program is intending to fix Schneider said, “I think (if successful) it will positively help, because during the end of the semester, it’s a really busy time too to make sure that you are able to get grading done, and making sure students make up what they need to, and then also just wrapping up the end of the year tends to be a busy time.”
Potential concerns could be transportation, and if students even show up. Bus scheduling remains the same as a usual school day, so students without their own transportation and only one class to attend, may be stuck at school the entire day. Additionally, will students just ‘opt out’ if they don’t want to attend, even if they’re failing? These issues may be unique from the old Finals Schedule where attendance was mandatory, except for seniors.
While we may not know every single detail about this program, it does show that FPS’ goal is to help students achieve a level of success. With a combination of efforts, this will allow students to give one final attempt to the teacher on their performance in the class. It will be interesting to see if the “End of Semester Proficiency Day Pilot Program” achieves the results it aims for.

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Hi! My name is Leyla, or Leyaunna depending on if I'm in trouble or not. I am a writer for the Fargo North Scroll! I really like cats and different types of music, and I also work at Blackbird Woodfire (best pizza around!!!). I really enjoy writing album reviews of my favorite artists - even if nobody else cares about my opinion,  I do. I also like writing about more serious topics that I believe need more recognition to bring awareness to important things happening in the modern-day world. I also really like Cheez-Its <3.
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