Braintree High Student Press

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Braintree High Student Press

Braintree High Student Press

Braintree


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The Case for Dropping Midyear Exams

This past week, Braintree High School had its third year of its newly-renewed Midyear Exam policy. These exams, covering from 10% to 12.5% of the final, year-long grade–depending on the course level– are being received with mixed feelings from the student body. 

One student, who prefers to stay anonymous, says how “[midterms] causes anxiety and for us to cram information last minute we will likely forget next week”. Another says how we should “just have finals at the end of the year”, allowing for a more simple, less intense approach to these types of exams.

This answer of backlash to the midyears raises an ever-occurring question: Why have them in the first place? In a day and age where societal norms around education are trying to move  away from big exams summarizing overwhelming amounts of information across long periods of time, how have we as a school found ourselves going back on old habits? We see how many colleges have started to retract their requirements for SAT/ACT exam scores when it comes to applications, and this relieves many students of the stress that comes with these types of tests. 

Of course, there is always the common case of the smart students that just can’t get it done when it comes time to fill in the bubble sheet. Despite this decade-old tradition of testing at the beginning and end of the year, do we abolish our old ways just for the common case of test anxiety? I think the answer is yes. 

When we have these big accumulative tests like midterms and finals, the goal is for students to show an accurate reflection of their understanding on the subject leading up to the date. For midterms, it would be everything learned up to January; finals, June. But how accurate of a reflection on understanding can teachers get when there are students whose minds helplessly blank before their pencils hit the paper no matter how many hours they studied in the days leading up? 

There is still an argument to be made as to why midterms and finals should remain. Students have a chance to boost a final grade from a B- to a B with a simple ninety minute exam. The idea sounds enticing, right?  

Maybe we keep them, maybe we don’t. All we are saying is that if everyone else starts to move away from these big accumulative exams that test so much information, why can’t we?

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About the Contributor
Ben DeMayo, WampTV

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