New final exam schedule allows for more benefits to students than disadvantages

Along with many of my peers, I am thrilled that I am no longer spending wasteful hours in school after completing two final exams each day this week.

Recently, the Atlanta Public Schools district made the change for the new final exam schedule that allows students to leave school at 12:30 p.m.

In the end of the first semester, I had survived the long hours and had just finished my last final exam. I was finally home-free. All of the hard work I put into the semester paid off, and I did not have to worry about any more assignments, study sessions or final exams.

Despite this huge burden off my shoulders, thinking back to sitting in a classroom for two more periods when there was no more work to be completed angered me just as it would anger many others this semester.

The Grady administration may be concerned about the shortened schedule leading to a lack of educational hours, but if  teachers are preparing their students for a final exam, what else is there to teach once the exam is completed?

Some teachers will not assign final exams to their classes, which would complicate the final exam schedule if there were no tests on that day. This only furthers my claim that we do not need to be in school for the entirety of the regular school day.

A final exam is designed to include everything a teacher has covered in their course, so there is no reason to continue to be in school for the latter half of the day during finals week, where we would not be doing anything productive.

Students could spend their time outside school in a more productive manner than in school. When I am dismissed early from school, I am free to use the time to prepare for my other final exams more efficiently — with friends or individually. I can have a casual study session at Starbucks, which is a new, more stimulating environment, instead of attempting to study in a dull classroom staring at the same bare walls and missing ceiling tiles that I have been staring at for the past nine months.

Currently, I am still annoyed that I cannot even get food outside of Grady without a discipline referral, so this new schedule will finally allow me to go to a restaurant and not have to worry about returning to class.

Other schools around Atlanta, such as Woodward Academy and the Westminster Schools, use a similar final exam schedule, and there seems to be no issues with it from students or faculty.

At Woodward, students are dismissed from school at 11:00 a.m.; they have the option to stay in school for tutorial sessions offered by teachers. In the long run, I would like Grady to adapt to this schedule since it gives students an option to receive extra help from teachers at school or to leave early, but I am still thankful APS implemented this change.