Optional testing: Teachers choose whether they will give midterms

design: Abby Robinson
permission to print photo: Maggie Van Fleet

Midterms: this word tends to set off the panic alarm in the minds of most. However, this year, that stress could vanish as some students will not need to take these tests.

Altering the hybrid schedule to fit the typical midterm schedule that the students and faculty usually follow would be nearly impossible. As an alternative option, it is now going to be left to the teacher to make the decision of hosting a midterm exam or not. If they choose to proctor the test, they must give it during the regular 45-minute period of the school day.

These tests would take place during the last three days of quarter 2, Jan. 12-14.

As a student, the first thought coming to mind is most likely thank god. A sign of relief and a weight lifted off the shoulders tends to be the result of this type of news. But is it really such a good thing?

If teachers choose not to give midterm exams, students’ learning will be hindered.

With so much depending on final exams at the end of the year, it would only make sense to have some type of preparation halfway through the year, and students are going to completely miss out on that opportunity.

Sure, there will be a lot fewer stress-crazed students over the course of the next few months, but that doesn’t do students any good when final exams roll around.

According to the “Marquette Wire” journal, a professor claims that holding midterms is her best way to gage where her students are at academically.

Midterms are supposed to ensure the teacher of the progress their students are making and if they are on the right track for the rest of the year. Staying in the dark with this knowledge does not benefit teachers nor students. Teachers administer midterms because it’s a progress check halfway through the year, and they act as a good indicator of whether teachers should alter their instruction.

The absence of midterms will not only be detrimental to the learning and curriculum of the students now, but it will also hurt them in the future.

When students leave the walls of this high school and begin college courses, they will face exams that count for the majority of their grades, just like midterms. Students will not be ready for this type of atmosphere if they have not yet had the chance to experience it before.

For example, several business courses at The Ohio State University such as finance courses only list the midterm and final exams on their syllabi as the assignments for the course, according to a sample OSU syllabus. That policy could place a large amount of pressure on students to perform on a single day under time constraints with little to no experience of being in that position before.

This year has been full of the unknown. Many events are unable to be planned in advance or are handled in a “play it by ear” manner, and midterms are no exception. Perhaps, the need to have indefinite flexibility might end up continuing beyond the COVID-19 pandemic and could lead to college professors adapting the structure of their courses.

When it comes to the long-term effects of COVID-19, student experience and familiarity with exam testing in preparation for college may be another addition to the list.