With Christmas break coming in a few days, there is only one thing keeping students from sleeping in until noon and celebrating the holidays with their families: midterms.
Midterm exams are the perfect way for the administration to evaluate how well students grasped the material their teachers have taught them in the first semester. Teachers choose to test their students using many different styles, including critical thinking (free response) and process of elimination (multiple choice).
A recent phenomenon in the Christopher Columbus High School grading system shows that midterms account for five percent of a students end of the year grade. “I realized students should not be pressured by midterms weighing heavily on their grades,” said David Pugh, the principal of Columbus.
Pugh made a pitch to lower this percentage to the rest of the administration to alleviate the stress of students, hoping the students will perform better being relaxed.
With that being said one question emerges: should the students take the exams seriously?
“In previous years, I had not really studied much for my midterms,” said Pietro Palazzolo-Russo, a senior at Columbus. Many students are influenced by the “low” number of five. However, that small percentage could be very influential on a student’s grade.
Some teachers send students who receive below a 50 percent on their exam to summer school, leaving no room for students to push aside or “Christmas-tree” their scantrons. If a student decides not to study for the midterm exam and fails it, they could find themselves in school for a few more weeks after everyone gets out.
Doing well on the midterms could be the difference between a B+ and an A for a student’s grade. Some students take this into account, especially seniors applying to college, seeing that even a small percent amount can separate themselves from other candidates when admission board members are selecting students to attend their respective university.
Once they reach the college level, the students will face midterms whether they would like to or not. Some high schools do not offer midterms (or finals for that matter), but when the student in that school has to do them in college, there will be a larger learning curve than for the students who are used to studying and working in that environment.
“Essentially, students need to see the bigger picture,” said Dr. Juan Vila. His job along with the rest of the administration is to make sure the students stay on track with their coursework as it will reflect on their habits in college.
While midterms may be long and tedious to study for, the hard work put into the preparation should pay off if a student decides to do so.
Also produced by Javier Rodriguez