Midterms: Send them off

Sarem Khan offers his viewpoint on why midterms are not an accurate reflections of student knowledge.

Photo courtesy of Rodnae Productions (Pexels)

January is a month where people have come back from winter trips with their family and are beginning to return to their academic lives. With the weather beginning to drop to freezing temperatures, we are gifted with white crystals and many vacations. The month of January should be celebrated and should be a relaxing month, as it is the start to a new year. For LM students, however, this is not possible, as the unpleasant test week known as midterms are around the corner.

A midterm exam is an assessment given in the middle of an academic grading term or near the middle of a quarter or semester. In the last week of January, two midterm tests were given to most students each day. Some teachers chose projects or presentations as their midterm rather than paper tests. The format of students’ midterm exams were determined by each teacher and what would be most beneficial in terms of their curriculum. 

No matter if the tests were easy or hard, midterms were still undesirable and put a substantial amount of unneeded stress on students. If a student had a B in a class, a bad midterm could drop it to a C. This is extremely unfair. 

Not only is this system unfair to the students who work hard all year and maintain good grades, but it also has negative physical and mental impacts on students. The mental impacts could include feeling overwhelmed and stressed and possibly sad if a student does not receive a good grade after the exam is over. The physical impacts could include feeling weak or tired due to a lack of sleep, which could lead to possibly coming down with a cold or even the flu. 

The idea behind midterms is to prepare students for college since most college courses have a midterm. While midterms in college might be fine, midterms in high school are simply not viable. For seniors, midterms fall near the deadline for regular decision college applications. Freshman, who are brand new to the school, are taking midterms within the first 5 months of being in high school, which they are not used to. Other grades, such as sophomores and juniors, already have a high workload and all of this extra preparations for midterms are unmanageable during this time of the year. 

Some argue that midterms can be a valuable tool for measuring how well a student has mastered a concept. However, teachers give exams all semester long, which are more accurate in reflecting a student’s knowledge than a midterm exam. Grades accumulated throughout the semester are also more indicative of how well a student can study, organize time, persevere and complete a challenge. Midterm exams need to be dropped from our school curriculum, as the negatives outweigh the positives. 

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