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Nonnewaug High School's Chief News Source

NHS Chief Advocate

Nonnewaug High School's Chief News Source

NHS Chief Advocate

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Examination Effect: Do Students Benefit from Midterms?

Madison Fitzmorris
NHS students have already begun preparing for this year’s midterm exams which begin Jan. 17.

WOODBURY — A midterm is a cumulative assessment that students take halfway through the school year. These examinations help students and teachers understand if they are successfully advancing and understanding the information from their classes. 

If midterm exams tend to be controversial, why does Nonnewaug require students to take them? 

“There was a lot of discussion with department chairs at the start of this school year about the value and purpose of midterms,” said Nicole Lewis, the assistant principal. “In the end, it was decided that midterms help prepare students for lengthy tests/assessments both in college and in trade certifications.”

Many students don’t like the fact that they are required to take midterms in some of their classes, although teachers have a different perspective.

“I think midterms are good,” says Scott Parkhouse, a social studies teacher at Nonnewaug. “It helps students to see the big picture for the first half of the year and it can also help students focus.”

NHS junior Chloe Walsh has already started her midterm preparation in order to avoid the added stress these exams cause. (Madison Fitzmorris)

Here at NHS, juniors and seniors can be exempt from finals if they have a 90 or above in their class. However, with the midterm exam, there is no exemption and all students have to complete them, but should there be an exemption?

“I would argue that the students who are attending a 2-to-4-year university are the ones that more need to have the experience of taking midterm and final exams,” said Ray Robillard, a math teacher at Nonnewaug. “I appreciate the incentive that it offers students, but I hope we’re not actively setting students up for when they have to take five exams each semester in college.”

Administrators at NHS also seem to agree with this statement, especially Lewis.

“I can’t imagine a more authentic way to prepare for college exams,” said Lewis. “The preparation that is required of midterms, and the length of midterm exams, align with college exams.” 

Although midterms can be a pain to students who struggle with studying for each of their classes, is there a chance the midterms may actually help some students concentrate better in classes knowing that they’re coming up?

“I do,” said Parkhouse when considering the positive impacts of midterms and their ability to hold students accountable for skills and content. “I believe that it also provides more of a focus in the class for students.”

Even though some teachers believe that students may do better in class with midterms, there are other teachers who don’t.

“I don’t believe that it’s a major influence on students,” Robillard said. “I believe that it’s an incentive for students, for finals, who normally get 88-89 marks in their class to try and get those last couple points.”

With the ongoing debate from teachers about whether or not students are actually motivated knowing their midterm exam is required, one is left to wonder: Do the students have the same thoughts?

“I believe that I would be much happier [without exams],” said Moorea Santulli, a senior. “I would feel much more relaxed.” 

Regardless of the school, there are going to be students who suffer from test anxiety, like Santulli. There are, however, a variety of strategies students can take to overcome test stressors. 

“Take advantage of all of the adults in the building that are here to help you,” said Lewis. “Use flex time productively, use study hall time effectively, [and] attend any and all after-school study sessions offered. Don’t wait for the last minute to study.”

Lewis believes that students with test anxiety should take advantage of the opportunities given to them, as it may be harder for students, once in college, if they don’t find a way to study that fits them and their needs.

Many teachers seem to believe that midterms are what’s best for the students for multiple reasons, so they can help wrap up everything they have learned so far and prepare upperclassmen for college. 

“Teachers reported that graduates have come back and said that experiencing midterms helped them to learn how to prepare for taking heavily weighted tests,” said Lewis. 

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About the Contributor
Madison Fitzmorris, Reporter
Madison Fitzmorris is a senior at Nonnewaug High School and writes for the NHS Chief Advocate as a reporter. This year is also her first year writing for the NHS Chief Advocate. She lives in Naugatuck and is enrolled in the ag program. When she graduates from Nonnewaug, she is planning to have a farm of her own in the future.
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