Finals are canceled for the second year in a row

A year without semester exams

Jennifer Le, Online Managing Editor

Last year, final exams were hastily canceled due to a district-wide quarantine at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Then, during the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year, midterm exams were dismissed. After much concern on how to safely administer finals, the Hillsborough County School District will exempt students and teachers from taking and conducting semester two exams.

However, students who are in danger of not earning a course credit will still have the opportunity to take semester two exams. The Office of Assessment & Accountability will issue a list of eligible students to take the exams by the first week of May based on their progress reports to ensure that students’ grades are completed at the end of this school year and not carried over into the fall. Schools will arrange a testing environment for those students and arrange a time for eLearning students to come on campus in order to monitor secure assessments.

Despite the cancellation of district exams, state assessments will still be administered for all students. Courses such as biology, US history, algebra and geometry require exams to be issued, along with the FSA ELA test for freshmen and sophomores.

“I do think that it’s [the cancellation] unfair because while I wasn’t necessarily looking forward to it, I wanted to test my knowledge since it’s my first year in high school,” Ariana Smith (’24) said.

Smith is a freshman IB student and since she’s only been in high school during a pandemic, she’s never taken a semester exam for her classes.

Some Robinson teachers aren’t so worried about the dismissal of exams but rather more concerned about eLearning and brick-and-mortar students taking the same test.

“I think it’s a good thing that exams were canceled because this year hasn’t been fair to everyone, necessarily, and everyone’s been doing the best that they can but I don’t think that [eLearners and brick and mortar] should have to take the same test,” English 2 Honors teacher Melissa Algahtani said.

Semester exams are among the several assessments that have been scratched due to pandemic concerns. In early January, the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) announced the cancellation of IB exams. For IB physics teacher Manuel Montero, the change of plans for semester exams was far less alarming compared to the IB exams he’d been preparing his students for.

“I think it’s fair… the exams are more of a district thing and it wouldn’t make sense to test every student on the same standards. This whole situation is out of our control,” Montero said.

The school year will conclude with no final exam week and therefore, no half days. Both state and AP exams are set to continue.