MONTVILLE, NJ – In a letter emailed to parents and students, Montville Township High School Principal Doug Sanford announced on April 30 that final exams, normally administered in June, had been cancelled.

Administration stated their reasons for cancelling the exams would be to gain instruction time, reduce stress and anxiety, the fact that the validity of the assessment could not be guaranteed, and to motivate students to perform better in the final marking period (quarter) of the school year, since it will have more impact on their final grade.

Instructional Time

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Sanford wrote that final exams take at least a week out of instructional time because it takes four days to take them and several more for teachers to prepare their classes for them. Administration hopes that cancelling exams will help offset that loss. The schedule for distance learning at the high school is a shorter day by approximately an hour and a half; each classtime is reduced by 20 minutes.

Logistical Hurdles

Sanford wrote that administering final exams would be “very challenging from a logistical standpoint,” and “would not translate well to a distance learning format.” In other words, despite their best intentions, administration cannot honestly be sure that tests not meant to be, did not become “open book.” Testing would take more than four days, as well.

More Weight to Fourth Quarter

In his letter, Sanford gave examples of how the fourth quarter would have more weight on grades, but the examples given took the weight that the final exam would be worth and spread it across all four quarters plus the midterm exam.

“Teachers will reflect the elimination of final exams by marking all students as ‘exempt’ on the last report card,” Sanford further explained. “Elimination of final exams will not impact transcripts as that document only contains cumulative final grades.”

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