Why cancelling midterms was the right choice

Why cancelling midterms was the right choice

Julia O'Sullivan, Staff Writer

During the pandemic, Schreiber adjusted its learning environment in order to keep students and faculty safe.  As a result, many students have faced challenges, such as the obstacle of retaining information on remote learning days.  Students are bombarded with stress as they adjust to the new “normal”.  Superintendent Dr. Hynes and Schreiber Principal Dr. Pernick have made the decision to cancel these exams.  This was the correct decision, as administering midterm exams would not only have been problematic, but also unfair to many students.

Schreiber’s hybrid learning system splits students in half based on the first letter of their last name.  Each of these groups goes to school three days out of the six day cycle, and, although many people enjoy or even prefer being in the comfort of their own homes while learning, this hybrid system has also produced many struggling students.  During remote learning days, the ability to learn and truly understand what’s going on in the classroom is difficult and stress inducing for many students. 

“Sometimes I get distracted during online class and then I end up getting confused and stressed out after I miss part of the lesson” said sophomore Shayna Kaypour.

At home, having no teacher supervision can lead to increased distractions for students.  Many people eat, use their phones, and even sleep during the school day, which leads to knowledge gaps or little understanding of a topic.

Furthermore, many teachers struggle with the technology they have been required to adapt. Camera angles, WiFi issues, Google Classroom,  and Zoom sessions  pose daily problems for teachers.

“When I’m at home for school, learning is much more difficult – not only because I get distracted but because it’s hard to hear what the teacher is saying,” said sophomore Alexandra Cascio.

On top of that, some students get very anxious to come off mute and that restricts them from learning to their full potential.  It is important to unmute when you have a question or concern, but some let their nervousness get the best of them and end up not saying anything at all.   As a result of the hybrid learning model and the additional struggles that have surfaced for many students this year, the administration of midterms would have been unfair and illogical.

“I was worried that we were going to have midterms this year, and, if we did, I think it would’ve been a little unfair as we are still adapting to the new schooling system,” said sophomore Kaitlyn Schwirzbin.

Moreover, as many teachers administer tests on only one day for both the remote group and the group in school that day, the remote group has a leg up on the other students as they have access to more resources.  The reality of this situation is unfair because even if the teacher uses a testing system that locks the browser, students at home can search things up on a different device.  If midterms were occurring this year, there would have been an unfair advantage for one of the two groups.  

“When teachers give online tests for both the blue group and the white group on the same day, it is very unfair for the students who have to take it in school.  If we were having midterms, I assume it would have been a similar situation, but worse” says sophomore Grace Ain.

Dr. Hynes and Dr. Pernick’s decision to cancel midterms was the right decision as it has been harder for students to learn this year due to the hybrid learning schedule. When students are online for the day, understanding and absorbing what they learned is no easy feat.  Additionally, the strategy for administering these exams presumably would have been unfair to some students and resulted in discontent from others.