Across the United States, final exams have become more and more common over the years for students at almost every grade level. Most public elementary, middle, and high school students are required to complete testing of some kind, usually biannually or annually, over the course of their academic careers in public schools. The purpose of testing is to make a final assessment of student knowledge. These assessments provide educators and parents meaningful information to support strong teaching and guide students to their full potential.


Many teachers include testing at the end of every semester (often referred to as midterm exams) or year (known as final exams, or simply finals). Usually proctored for the fall semester in December/January and in April/May for the spring semesters, these assessments help evaluate the amount and/or depth of knowledge students were able to gain about different subjects throughout the semester or year. Something worth noting here about assessment is that not all classes culminate in a final exam: some teachers may assign a final term paper or special project to assess knowledge synthesis and application. As far as grading the final exam/paper/project for a course, the weighting (or percentage of the final class grade) often depends on state education requirements, but sometimes varies from teacher to teacher when they have a direct say in developing a metric that is specific to each course.


Final assessments at the elementary level are usually just standardized tests that have been developed by curriculum developers and educational consultants. They are normally given to students in order to assess the progress of teachers in terms of subject matter coverage and average student performance rate overall, as well as to provide results-based data that can help determine when it might be necessary to engage intervention strategies for students in serious need.


Final assessments at the secondary level include both standardized tests and subject-specific tests. In middle schools and high schools, it is required that students complete a final exam at least in every core subject. In most secondary schools, students must pass these exams in order to be promoted to the next grade level–almost all teachers are required to proctor a final exam to students to this end. Often they are required to apply the final exam score as a percentage of the final course grade.


As final exams grow in importance for students (especially those in middle and high school), pressure on students mounts significantly. The impact of these assessments on the final grades of many students can be one of the most stressful aspects of attending school. While many students manage the stress of final exams by treating them as they do other tests, some students need more support. If you see problematic behaviors, mood changes, or signs of test anxiety developing in your student, offer positive encouragement and engage proactively in study sessions (e.g., quizzing your student, etc.). If more academic support is needed, also consider securing a tutor for test preparation sessions.

Tots ‘N Tutors is a professional mobile and remote tutoring company that offers private tutoring in Austin, Texas as well as support to students from pre-kindergarten through high school, and also college. Tots ‘N Tutors provides structured tutoring sessions that are tailored to each student. Tutors will meet with students individually or in small groups, in person or virtually to address their needs. Contact Tots ‘N Tutors online at any time, or by phone at 512-789-8949.