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Testing Days

As the semester comes to a close, SHS students find themselves in a mess of midterms, projects, and presentations.  In response to student complaints about scheduling, the school has come up with a new policy. Enter testing days – a system where two subjects share two days when a test can be given or a project can be due.  This system was devised to alleviate the amount of work a student has each day at the end of the quarter...a time when teachers often give large, cumulative tests.  So how did I end up taking three tests in one day?
    


The testing day system has loopholes that teachers find and exploit.  For example, a teacher might say “Oh, I’m being nice by giving you a test before testing week starts.” This “nice gesture” results in mass testing the week before testing week, as well as during testing week.  Other teachers say, “We could have this assignment due on my testing day but it’s really better for you to have it due before.  But you guys can pick the due date.”  This leaves students in limbo, wanting to please the teacher but keeping in mind their workload.  And in practice, kids don’t always want to have an awkward conversation with a teacher to let them know they are breaking rules and need to move a test date.



In my case, I had a field trip planned the Tuesday before testing week, and since there are no make-up tests given during testing week, I was forced to take both exams that were planned for that day on one day before the trip in addition to the tests scheduled for that day.  There are also several gray areas in the rules – can larger homework assignments or textbook notes be due on another subject’s testing day? Can you have a reading quiz on someone else’s testing day?



Clearly, the system is flawed, and teacher and students alike know it.  The administration has been trying to find an alternate method of controlling testing, such as the block scheduling system used in other schools. 

In the interim, Mr. Klemme, Mr. Goldberg, Mr. Hamm and Mrs. Peppers have seriously considered suspending testing days for a quarter to see what happens.  Things certainly work out during the quarter without school regulation, and I think most students and teachers will be able to arrange a schedule where no one has more than two tests or large assignments due any given day.  With more flexibility, teachers will be more amenable to changing their schedules to meet student needs.  Also, teachers may be willing to cooperate with students in the hopes of abandoning testing days, which are a nuisance for teachers too.

Melissa Tucker is a sophomore at Scardale High School

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