No midterms?!

Learn about midterms during this stressful year.

Graphic by Emmi Wu ’23/Staff

This year has been different and crazy for everyone. During a normal school year, coming back from winter break normally means one thing: midterm week. This is typically a busy and stressful time for students, as they must suffer through long tests to assess what they have learned throughout the first semester. However, this year, midterms were not required for every class and teachers were able to choose how they would assess their students. When asked about midterms, sophomore Julia Russel ’23 said, “Since we didn’t have as many midterms as usual, it eased and calmed my stress because this year has been so different. I personally learn better in school rather than online so if there would be midterms similar to last year it would create a lot of stress.” Some teachers still had tests, while others decided to do large projects. When social studies and psychology teacher Carla Rehak was asked about midterms this year, she said “I did not give a midterm because I didn’t want to add any more stress to my students. These have been unprecedented times with lots of change. I thought giving a cumulative midterm would cause undue stress and anxiety in an already stressful time.” This year’s learning situation has been markedly different from previous years, and most teachers decided to not give midterm assessments if possible. Chemistry teacher Patrick Cronin spoke about how he is not giving a midterm or anything close to what he would give during a typical year. He said that “the whole curriculum has changed from last year to this year. [He’s] not giving a midterm that is even close to what [teachers] would normally give but [is] going to ask spiraling questions.” These “spiraling questions” are to help students recall information from previous units. Cronin is going to give numerous worksheets and labs to his students with questions that worked with topics previously learned. On the other hand, certain math teachers, like William Hawkins decided to give a more traditional midterm to his Pre-Calculus classes. His first reason for doing this is because it requires students to go back and reteach themselves skills they have previously mastered. Another reason for giving a midterm is because he thought this would be best for their students and best for teachers to understand what course recommendations they should give. He said that “the other major reason for deciding to give a midterm (in the middle of a pandemic) was that [teachers] thought it would give students an accurate glimpse of their learning this year. This really helps with course placement next year as there are a variety of calculus classes offered and different levels of difficulty. Without the exam as a barometer, there is some concern that students might end up in a less than ideal learning environment next year.” Every teacher has decided on a different approach to replace midterms this year. Whether it is a test, project, or just forgetting about midterms all together, every teacher is doing what is best for their students and their class as a whole.