Break from the Traditional Midterms

Student OpinionFor midterms this year, many seniors said that instead of having to do a long, drawn out test, their teachers gave individual projects. Senior year, we are all stressed. If we say we aren’t, don’t believe it. The stress may not be apparent, but it’s there pushed back in the recesses of our minds. Underclassmen might be thinking, but aren’t college applications done at this point? The answer is pretty much yes, however, now seniors are either waiting to hear back from their respective universities or applying for scholarships to pay for said universities. Both of which, yes, cause stress. The last thing we seniors need to think about is cramming for an hour and half long exam.

I had two projects for two of my classes this year. And after finishing both of them, I feel I proved that I had learned the material taught to me that semester. I got to prove that I retained the knowledge taught to me all year. For my AP English midterm, I had a project and a test. The project was assigned about a week before midterm day. I had to choose a poem and pretty much take it apart word for word. I defined the style and the meaning for the poem by actually using what I had learned in class. By doing the project, I had to make my own decisions on how I should answer some of the interpretive questions. Not that my teacher wasn’t willing to answer questions should they arise, however, the answers were not cut and dry. It was not a yes or no test question where you mindlessly memorize the answer off of some study guide.

The test was pretty difficult and what studying I did didn’t really help me. Considering the test was on interpretations of poems, I wasn’t sure how there could be a right or wrong answer. I remember leaving the classroom questioning myself and my answers. One more thing for me to stress about. The best thing about doing the project was actually getting something out of the letter I’ll see under “Midterm” on my report card. I turned in my project feeling like I completed the questions to the best of my ability as I had time to check and check and then check one more time. I believe the longevity of midterms is a main focal point of stress. I’ve personally felt how hot and stuffy the classroom can get during tests. It’s amazing how a room can feel like 125 degrees when it’s -10 outside. At some point, the walls start getting closer and closer together until you just need to get out. Unfortunately, you’re stuck like the gum under your desk until you have finished your exam.

Now yes, some of you out there may be thinking, If I have a project, I’ll just work with my friends. Haha I’m so smart. Let’s think for a second. It’s pretty easy to see plagiarism on an individualized project. Teachers, I know you are aware of how many of your students feverishly study the night before midterm day when they have a test. Talking to teachers who teach seniors, how are we expected to perform to the best of our ability with so much on our plate? Simply, we can’t so something has to go. And in this case, it will most likely be sleep. But that’s another issue altogether.

I can see why those of you who disagree with me think the way you do. By taking a one and done test, you just show up to school, take the test and are done. Tests can be beneficial for certain subjects such as math where it is important for students to absorb information cumalitvely. And those who are good test takers obviously would rather have an exam. However, for subjects that require more interpretive and analytical thinking, projects better test the mind and what we as students are capable of performing.