Student rep to BOE expresses midterm testing concerns

By LISA CAPOBIANCO

STAFF WRITER

When January approaches, Bristol high school students will be recalling everything they have learned in the classroom since September.

For many students like Alexandra Allen, who serves as a student representative for the Board of Education, this is a particularly stressful time of year, especially since midterm exams take place on full days of school.

During a Board of Education meeting last Wednesday, Allen recommended changes to the midterm exam policy. The Bristol Eastern High School student said stress levels of students and teachers would decline by bringing back half-day midterm exams, stress levels for students and teachers will decline.

Allen also noted that students receive half-days during the final exam period.

“Midterms and finals are worth the same percent of your grade,” said Allen. “From experience, midterms are just as hard as finals.”

During her report, Allen shared similar thoughts expressed by her environmental science teacher.

“She believes that students just don’t have the same drive as they do during finals because we have classes after we take our midterms,” said Allen, who also received support from peers regarding this issue. “The two hours are crucial for studying for students who have jobs and other responsibilities.”

Allen added studying is often the last item on the priority list because of other homework assignments and projects that are due on midterm day.

“My accounting teacher…believes that it’s not fair for students because they’re trying to continue to learn,” said Allen. “But it’s also not fair to the teachers who are trying to teach, trying to get their curriculum done, and students just come in…stressed out, and their work becomes sloppy.”

Allen also addressed AP midterms, which a history teacher considered to be a “waste of days” because of how the exams are structured.

“The goal of AP is to cover content, and already enough unit tests do the job,” said Allen. “For some people, taking the midterm is actually disruptive for an AP class because it isn’t an AP-style—it’s midterm style.”

Allen noted how she was recently informed that because of the amount of content, AP midterm exams will take place over the course of two days instead of one.

“Most AP midterms are not just going to be one day because of the amount of stuff that we learned,” said Allen, adding that there are pros and cons for eliminating AP midterms.

Board of Education Chairman Chris Wilson told Allen that her concerns about the midterm exam policy will be on the agenda for the next Student Achievement Committee meeting in January.

“We can have some good dialogue about midterm and final testing,” said Wilson.