Due to the circumstances of this year, midterms have caused some controversy. Students complained about how midterms should have been canceled and even started a petition. More than 400 people, parents and students, signed this petition. To back up canceling midterms, students explained how multiple schools around Connecticut including Naugatuck, Terryville, Wolcott, Holy Cross, Greenwich, Watertown, St. Paul, and a few more canceled their midterms. The main reason Woodland students did not want midterms was because of the pandemic, along with the choice made by other schools. Even though the school still carried out midterms, teachers were able to alter them to fit the circumstance.
Teachers were told to change their midterms to make them easier for the students, thankfully. They were also required to make the midterm online in case of a snow day. James Belinsky, Woodland math teacher, changed the way he gives midterms drastically. Instead of just a test given on paper, he changed his test to all online with multiple choice. Adding on to that, he gave his students a project to complete before the midterm which he would average with the test. Therefore, the midterm was easier for the students to complete. Belinsky feels it was necessary to change his midterm.
“You have kids who’ve been remote the full time, been in and out with quarantining, and that have different accommodations and you know it’s harder for them to meet their needs,” explains Belinsky. “So creating an alternate way of doing [midterms] that’s a little different, I think it lets you be able to accommodate different types of issues kids are experiencing.”
Even though most feel as though midterms were still necessary, some teachers ended up not giving a traditional test at all. Patricia Corey, Woodland history teacher, gave her ECE U.S. History class a socratic seminar and questions that followed. Although this isn’t a true test, it was still a way to see how her students understood the subject and what was talked about over the semester. Corey believes this is an important part of her class.
“[Midterms] can still be as rigorous and they could still be a strong exam but they don’t have to look like exams in the past because we are not living in that situation.”
Corey modified her midterm not only to make it easier but to get a different view on how her students are evolving.
“I think it’s necessary to have some type of assessment to see how students are doing, because for me it’s important to see how they’re developing.”
Having a unique year calls for unique midterms. Students’ opinions on midterms might have been slightly different than teachers but they still have an opinion. Erin Bridges, junior at Woodland, believed midterms were still going to happen but had some tips on how they should be changed.
“This year I think the midterms should have some minor fixes due to the pandemic,” explains Bridges. “There should be a bigger variety of the type of questions so it is harder to cheat for the online kids. [Midterms] should be more open ended, and focus on what we learned.”
Bridges isn’t the only one that believes there should be some changes. Some students believed there shouldn’t have been midterms at all. Kian Sirowich thinks the students have had too much stress this year to have to deal with midterms.
“I was not very happy with the region’s decision to have midterms this year because of the mass amount of stress we have had since this pandemic started and the lack of education we have gotten with the hybrid schedule.”
Even though he wishes we didn’t have midterms, Sirowich understands it is important and has some opinions on how they could be changed.
“To make midterms easier we should have projects or group discussions. I just think a more simple assignment would be better because we have missed out on so much material.”
This school year has been one for the books and even though many thought midterms should be canceled, teachers believe it is important to check up on how students are understanding the material. Every teacher has altered their midterm to make it easier for the students, therefore there is less stress. Moving forward, maybe teachers will be able to make their curriculum different based on results from the midterms.