Why Doesn’t WY Have Midterms?

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Nicholas Bussey

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It’s the end of the quarter, and you know what that means! It’s time for midterms!!!! Well, it is for some schools, at least… But unlike some other Chicago selective enrollment high schools, Whitney Young doesn’t have mandated midterm exams at all. Assistant Principal Matt Swanson adds that he doesn’t “think it’s necessary to mandate them, [although] teachers can choose to implement an end of quarter exam during a normal class period if they want.” This frees up students from having to study for seven 90 minute exams twice a year, and especially lightens the load for students applying to college for the Early Action or Early Decision deadlines, giving them more time to focus on college apps and supplemental essays.

If there were midterms, like at some other Chicago high schools, Marta Kalfas ‘19 notes that “quarter grades would matter,” which would bring the average GPA down significantly and give students significantly “less time to bring up their grades,” especially while many students are still adjusting to the start-of-year workload. It would also unnecessarily add to the already high stress levels early in the year, lowering students’ overall performance.

However, one positive of having more common end of quarter testing would be that “kids who test well would get a semester grade boost from that seven percent of their grade,” comments Meg Bradshaw ‘19, which would serve as a cushion for the rest of the semester. After realizing that this week, the week before the November 1st deadline, would have been midterms, she proceeded to say “nononono no No Thanks” to the prospect of there being any bit of more stress in her life due to testing.

It is great that Whitney Young respects its students’ time and stress levels, and gives teachers the liberty to choose activities for their class based on what is needed academically. If we as a school continue to be aware of the mental and emotional states of others as we have been, then teachers will continue to acknowledge the needs of students and our school will continue to be the wonderful positive environment that it is.

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