Due to the updated school schedule, teachers will not be assigning cumulative midterms this year before winter break. Instead, classes will take place as they normally would and teachers may assign regular assessments.
Head of Upper School Beth Slattery said that traditional assessments can be an added burden to students’ lives.
“There’s a recognition that big cumulative exams are stressful for students, and I don’t think any of us are super interested in adding stress, especially during [COVID-19],” Slattery said.
Jennifer Epstein ’21 agreed with Slattery and said she is happy midterms were canceled this year in light of the additional stress the pandemic has put on the community.
“I personally love it,” Epstein said. “I don’t think recalling information in a timed and pressure environment is the best way to prove we know what we’re learning. Especially during this time of online learning and COVID, midterms could be an added stress that students don’t need. I also think that teachers deserve time off during winter break and [to] not have to grade our midterms.”
While some students agree with canceling cumulative midterms this year, Colin Luse ’22 said that assessments allow him to stay prepared for his classes.
“With midterms, you know exactly what is in store for you and can prepare accordingly,” Luse said. “Now, there are random assignments and projects that cause close to or the same amount of stress as midterms cause. Plus, it is a great way to end the first half of the year and leaves you with great satisfaction heading into the break.”
Slattery said that although the school can be strenuous , teachers do not want to contribute additional stress to students’ lives.
“We don’t want [the school] to be a less rigorous place, but if there are ways in which we can scale back and actually make life a little bit easier given all that you guys are going through right now, it feels like getting rid of midyear assessments is one way to do that,” Slattery said.