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Vandegrift Voice

The online student newspaper of Vandegrift High School

Vandegrift Voice

The online student newspaper of Vandegrift High School

Vandegrift Voice

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Midterms and finals reimplemented after 4 year break

Students+take+cumulative+tests+the+week+before+winter+break+and+the+final+week+of+school.+Midterms+will+be+held+in+every+subject%2C+however%2C+it+is+up+to+individual+subjects+whether+the+test+is+a+project%2C+product%2C+or+a+traditional+test.
Yejoo Kim
Students take cumulative tests the week before winter break and the final week of school. Midterms will be held in every subject, however, it is up to individual subjects whether the test is a project, product, or a traditional test.

Four years after their suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Associate Principal Jayme Spexarth and Dean of Instruction Christa Martin worked with other administrators to reinstate midterms and finals. The district organized the new final policy with the purpose of preparing students for the college testing experience. 

“We went away from having midterms and finals during COVID because we wanted to focus on survival that first year,” Spexarth said. “We’ve been having an ongoing conversation as a district about whether or not we want to bring them back. Do we want to bring back exemptions? What would that look like? So it’s been like a couple of years of conversation about it.”

As part of the decision making process, Spexarth and Martin sent surveys to alumni who attended a four-year college following graduation. The surveys gathered input on the alumni experience with midterms and finals at the college level.

“The alumni said that they have a lot of midterms and finals, and that having some practice at that would be good, but without the stress,” Spexarth said. “So that’s why we didn’t push for them to be weighted.”

Midterms and finals will be weighted equivalent to a normal test grade, although, prior to the pandemic, they formed a 7th of a student’s grade in the class.

“I don’t anticipate a major impact on student grades because a lot of our core classes are already doing some kind of final unit or chapter test toward the end of the year, ” Spexarth said. “Maybe students’ grades will go up because they’ll be more focused and less distracted by other things going on outside of the school building.”

The administration has not yet decided whether or not AP courses will require students to take finals, for the AP test already resembles a cumulative test. However, Spexarth anticipates that the teachers of each course will have the final say in what these exams look like. 

“I don’t mind having to take midterms and finals because all of my academic classes are APs so I take finals anyway,” junior Avery Larusso said. “Having these tests that impact my grades in the class will give me an incentive to continue reviewing content throughout the year.”

Midterms and finals will take place the final week of each semester, which matches the testing schedule in college. 

“I’m not nervous about the exams themselves, but I’m worried that I won’t have enough time to adequately prepare for so many tests in the span of a few days,” Larusso said.

Prior to the pandemic, the district allowed students to exempt from taking midterms and finals if they attended enough classes. However, with the new policy, students will no longer have the option to exempt, regardless of attendance.

“The district had originally implemented exemptions as a way to encourage better student attendance,” Spexarth said. “It wasn’t effective, and it was confusing and complicated. I’m not sure it was worth it.”

Alumni Mariana Orozco exempted from all of her finals during the time she attended Vandegrift, yet, she found midterms much more difficult in college than High School.

“I wish there had been more of a bridge between the intensity of midterms and finals in college versus high school,” Orozco said. “In college you dive in and the finals are over every single thing you have learned in the year in one test, so it did make me feel like I was going in blind for college.”

At the university level, students are required to complete both midterms and finals for every course they take, so by reimplementing midterms and finals, the district looked to prepare students for taking these tests in the future.

“[Midterms and finals] will provide [students] with an experience where they’ve had to prepare for multiple tests in the same week,” Spexarth said. “It will give them the foundation and confidence that they can be successful at that in college.”

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About the Contributor
Mary Bahrami, Staff Reporter
Mary Bahrami is a junior and is excited for her first year on staff. Mary is also an athlete on the Steiner Ranch Mountain Biking team and a member of yearbook staff. Outside of school, Mary loves to read, write, and spend time with friends.

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