Editorial: Problems with the structure of midterm week

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Midterm week can be extremely stressful for all students.  With many tests crammed into one hectic week, this time of year can be difficult to manage.  These seven days are very demanding for students and require a lot of work to be put into valuable study hours.  Some students may even be forced to take two midterms in one day.  Sitting for two or more hours for each exam is exhausting and draining for students.  Having to do this twice in a row with little to no break in between can cause students to do worse on their second test because they are drained from their previous test.
For this reason, The Schreiber Times believes that this policy should be abolished.  In its place, Schreiber’s administration should consider creating a testing schedule where those specific students who have to take more than one midterm in a day are specially accommodated to take the second exam on a different day, or, if this is not possible, in the following week.
Most Schreiber students are familiar with the stress of taking the ACT or SAT on a Saturday morning. During this time, students spend between three and four hours at their desks completing the exam. It’s unquestionable that this situation leads to extreme stress and anxiety, especially during the exam itself. It is interesting to note that this is about the equivalent of taking two midterms in a day; thus, it is only reasonable to question having two midterms a day if students would never be asked to complete such lengthy testing over consecutive days. The concentration and energy demanded from students who have multiple tests in a day, or even over consecutive days, is immense and should be avoided if possible.
Similar to the weeks of AP exams, which take place during early May, midterm week typically offers two possible times for tests, starting around 8 a.m. or at 12 p.m.  However, unlike the College Board, which is a nationwide organization, Schreiber has its own local abilities to change these rules of testing that should be taken advantage of.
Furthering with abandonment of taking multiple tests consecutively in a day, it should also be advisable for the school to not have students take their tests on days nearing the end of a week.  In regards to the student’s stamina and wellbeing, the culmination of stress from days earlier in the week has, and will, put even more pressure and burden on the student who might need to take the majority of their tests during the rest of the following week.
When the school allows midterm exams to take place on Friday after long week of testing, students may be overwhelmed from the accumulation of stress from previous days.  This could potentially result in lower overall academic performance on that day.  

While the Social Studies department has opted to schedule their “cumulative assessments,” which are essentially the same as midterms, during the week prior to midterm week in an attempt to spread out the overcrowdedness of midterm week, this choice also has major pitfalls. Many seniors in particular take many social studies courses, such as government, economics, and/or psychology courses. Thus, several of which have their cumulative assessments scheduled for the same Thursday or Friday before midterm week. 

These cumulative assessments are almost identical to a midterm exam in terms of the material that is covered in these tests and the amount of studying necessary. The only difference is that they only last one hour since the exam takes place during school. The entire purpose of a midterm week without attending classes is to provide students extra time to focus and prepare for their exams. However, the preparation for these cumulative assessments are mixed in with the normal school week. Furthermore, the end of the quarter is often correlated with teachers cramming in last-minute lessons and homework, leaving students feeling extremely overwhelmed. Many students have to continue to learn material and take unit tests for their other classes, while also reviewing a whole semester’s worth of notes for their cumulative assessments. This leads to overall decreased performance on all graded assignments during this week. Cumulative assessments overall start midterms off with an already stressed note although intended to do the opposite.
Furthermore, developmentally, teenagers have shorter concentration spans than adults. Thus, it only makes sense that more concentrated periods of testing, such as a four-day midterm week, would reflect in the academic success of high school students regarding midterms. In fact, this is noted in a Missouri study that found that 76 percent of teachers said that the four-day school week had improved the academic quality of their school district.
The total hours of test taking in a day for a student with only one test is, on average, one to two hours.  However, the more tests a student has, the total hours of test taking that the individual must take are doubled, which raises the stakes for a harmful grade on an important test later in the day.  Since it is particularly important to end the first semester on a good note, especially for those in their freshman or senior year, midterm week should be a period where students should not feel as burdened by this notorious practice and should instead be allocated to their needs to maintain an overall less stressful testing environment. 

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