Instead of taking final exams at desks, students were seated at rented tables in the gym. The desks were scrapped due to concerns for the remodeled classrooms.
Previously, students carried the desks from classrooms to the gym.
“People would always hit the doors, so the paint would come off,” said Sue Nellis, head of the high school.
A total of 42 tables sat three people each. The tables were rented for $12 apiece, and the school used its own chairs.
About half the high-school students that had a preference said they preferred the tables.
“There was more space to work and we didn’t have to move the desks,” sophomore Jaspreet Gill said.
Junior Maya Kuppermann appreciated the desks during her open note AP Chemistry final.
“If we had desks, I wouldn’t have been able to spread my notes and wouldn’t have been able to finish the test on time,” Kuppermann said.
The extra space also gave students more space for vocabulary sheets and dictionaries, Latin teacher Jane Batarseh said.
Tables also allowed teachers to reach students more easily, Batarseh added.
However, some felt that the proximity of their fellow classmates distracted them.
“People shake and tap their pens and make annoying noises,” sophomore Clare Fina said.
“And I already have issues with focusing, so it didn’t help.”
Fina hopes that the school will revert back to the old desks for spring finals.
About 12 percent of the high school students said that the tables were distracting.
Nellis said that the change shouldn’t make it harder to focus because people will be distracting regardless.
“If someone had really complained we would’ve moved them, so I assumed it wasn’t a big problem,” Nellis said.
“No matter what, there will be noise that is going to bother people. I don’t think it had to do with the new seating arrangements,” Kuppermann said.
But, Kuppermann raised other issues with the tables.
Other students sat close to her. She could easily talk to them and cheat if she wanted to, she said.
And in an Octagon poll nearly 25 percent of high-school students reported seeing someone cheat.
Batarseh disagrees with the notion that tables made cheating easier. She hopes that the tables are adopted for future finals.
“More room made it logistically easier to take the test,” she said.
Chemistry teacher Alan Beamer acknowledged the problems of the new system, but said that it most likely did not “tank” anyone’s grade.