Midterms no longer mandatory for freshmen

The ninth grade class will no longer take midterm exams, effective this year. In the past, ninth graders were separated from the rest of the middle school student body in mid-January to take semester exams in their core academic classes. Seventh and eighth grade students do not take midterm exams while all upper school students take semester exams.

This change in policy was implemented this year to reduce stress, middle school English teacher and Faculty Academic Committee chair Julia Grody said in the last issue of The Spectrum.

Though there are no official midterms, teachers can still give their students semester exams, but the exams would be administered in classrooms, not Marshall Gym.

In past years, all students took a semester exam for the same subject at the same time in Marshall.  Additionally, any tests or projects administered in the first semester must be completed before winter break.

The decision to halt midterms at the middle school may benefit students in the short-term, but some students are concerned about how this will affect their transition to the Upper School, where semester exams occur in January and in June.

“From the point of view of a ninth grader, I am certainly happy that I won’t have to stress over midterms, but it will definitely be a lot of added stress next year,” Casey Crosson ’18 said. “This could be a bad idea because it would be nice to experience what midterms are like before getting thrown into them at the Upper School.”

It is up to each teacher’s discretion whether they will give midterm exams, unit tests, or something more specific to their class. For example, an English teacher may give an essay, while a biology teacher may require students to complete a formal lab report.

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