To Midterm or Not to Midterm? That Seems to be the Question This Week

To Midterm or Not to Midterm? That Seems to be the Question This Week

Cramming for a test the night before that will cover all the material that was taught that semester seems very stressful. Preparing for four to six midterm exams the week before by staying up until 1:00 A.M. drinking coffee to stay awake is beyond stressful!

This year, for the first time, Mr. Mahler, along with the rest of the faculty, made the decision to not give students midterms. In replacement of midterms, teachers are supposed to be giving projects or some type of end-of-semester assessments. The past few weeks there has been a lot of chatter about whether getting rid of exams was the right choice.

Some students argue that midterms prepare students for college exams, and as a college preparatory school, that is an important aspect. However, Mr. Mahler pointed out an important statistic while addressing the upper school at assembly on Monday. Fewer than 40% of college classes give exams at the end of the semester. The ODA faculty has done significant research that led them to the decision to get rid of midterms for this year. Still, experience is key and this is just an experiment to see what works best.

Many students prefer not having exams this week, as they find that preparing for exams is overwhelming.

“I think this winter is way better without midterms. I feel like putting everything you have into a midterm is hard, because it’s so heavily weighted. I think most of us do better when theres less pressure and the weight of grades is more spaced out,” says junior Libby Grimmond.

On the other side of the matter, a portion of students are even more stressed out without exams. These students have thought that because of the absence of exams, teachers have over-assigned the big projects and tests at the end of the semester to take their place.

“I’d probably rather have midterms. All the projects and homework assignments we have are honestly a lot more work than actually having exams. I think the fact that I’m in three AP classes probably has something to do with that too,” says junior Sydney Koffman.

The teacher opinion is also somewhat mixed, and some teachers’ thoughts may be surprising.

“For me, in most of my classes but not all, I’ve been able to do cultural projects, where we’ve been able to go into new things in more depth. In that aspect, I was very happy to do something that I never would’ve done if we’d had exams. I think it provided a richness to the content that I teach. There’s always going to be pros and cons, but we need to come together as a faculty to see if this benefitted our students, but for the most part, I think I like not having midterms better,” says Señora Howell.

When asked if not having exams is bettor or worse, english teacher Mr. Naylor said,”Just based on evidence of peoples comments it seems to be 60-40 percent [on not having exams.]” When asked if it is more stressful for teachers to make exams or not, Mr. Naylor said, “That doesn’t matter [for me.] It wouldn’t make my life easier or harder if I had to make an exam or not make an exam.”

If nothing else, the experiment was a very helpful.  It helped everyone learn more about themselves and each other, teachers and students alike. Only time will tell the final decision on how this situation resulted in the big picture.