Lack of Uniform Weighting Causes Final Exam Confusion

Casey Miller, Staff Writer

There is one very confusing aspect of final exams: the percentages.  And by that I mean, what percentage do I need to score on my final in order to raise my grade?

In my attempt to get all “A’s” my first freshman semester, I have calculated the score I need to get on the finals in each of my classes.  For a few of my classes, I just need a “B,” or 80%, on the final and I’ll be okay.  But on others, I need to to eclipse the 90% barrier to earn the “A.”

Finals aren’t fair. Why do some classes only count finals as 10% of the total grade but it counts for 20% in others?  I don’t understand why teachers do this. It is imbalanced for the students, who now need to study harder for one test than another because it is worth more to their precious grade.  There should be a unified system; teachers should agree on the weight of final exams across the curriculum.

Being individuals, various students excel in various subjects.  If my math final is worth more than my English final, it’s unfair because I am better at English.  I would want the English final worth more and the math worth less.  It would be better if they were the same total percentage.  In this way, the greatest number of students would be satisfied, and  there would be less stress if students needed to study the same amount for each subject.

It’s frustrating that even though I have an “A” in biology, I have to get a really good grade on the final in order to maintain it.  In this way, finals are rewarding for students who have maintained a C-average all year.  If they get a bad score, it won’t affect their grade.  But if they get a good score, their percentage will be artificially boosted.

In case you are wondering, there is a method to figuring out the percentage needed.  It’s a bit complicated, but foolproof.  To get the percent you need on your final for your desired semester grade, first take the percent you want in the class and subtract the percent of your grade that will not be the final portion (in decimal form) multiplied by your current percent grade (not in decimal form). Divide all of this over the percent of your grade that will be the finals portion (in decimal form).

If you followed that, you are probably in good shape on your math grade, so depending on the weight of your finals in other class, you might consider studying more for them!