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Are Midterms Necessary?

Quinn Humphrey, Senior, Co-News Editor

From the awkward days of middle school to the stressful college-crammed agenda that we know as high school, midterms have been a constant thorn in everyone’s side. They cause additional stress for students and halt the flow of the school year for what many look at as one more set of unneeded tests. Although they are described as a mid-year review, midterms seem only to serve as a source of unnecessary anxiety. Even when advertised as a benefit, midterms are not beneficial or needed in modern day schooling.

Midterms, as an assessment of skills, come around at a terrible time. Following a week-long winter break students barely have time to get back into the groove of schoolwork. Watch out—midterms are coming, and they’re coming fast! Students find themselves thrown into preparation as soon as they return to school.

Now for those who have endured the four years of testing and are on the brink of leaving PMHS, midterms may seem like no big deal, but some disagree. “In some places, tests—and preparation for them—are dominating the calendar and culture of schools and causing undue stress for students and educators.” Sound like the words of a disgruntled student? Actually this quote comes from former Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Duncan, along with other educators, feel that periodic assessments, spread out throughout the year and in different formats, more accurately assess what a student is learning than a stress-filled week-long set of midterms. Pelham students agree.

“I don’t enjoy taking them. They’re a burden that causes unneeded stress and disrupts our class schedule,” said Peter Fontanella, junior. “A simple project would be a better option and wouldn’t cause as much stress. [Midterms are] outdated forms of testing that should be replaced by something more practical and beneficial.”

Despite one’s determination and eagerness to excel in school, sitting down to take a giant exam is daunting. Every student, no matter how prepared, may start to panic. Do I know everything? Am I ready? Did I study enough? Is this sense of alarm helpful in actually assessing what a student knows? Not likely. So, if the tests actually prevent adequate assessment, are they worth having? We think not.

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The School Newspaper of Pelham Memorial High School
Are Midterms Necessary?