By Jamie Boeheim and Mary Austin
Are midterms even necessary? Should there only be an end of the year final? Many Jamesville-DeWitt High school students tend to believe that midterms are neccessary, even if they don’t like them, and most of the staff agrees.
This year, the freshman class were required to take an English, Earth Science, and a Global History 9 midterm. The sophomore class took Biology and Global History 10 midterms. Some teachers, such as Spanish teacher Michael O’Brien, tend to agree with most students that the midterms aren’t necessary when it comes to Spanish. “Spanish is a continuous course so to arbitrarily stop in the middle and ask if you remember things from the previous classes to me is not necessary,” says Mr. O’Brien, who likes to continually teach and use previous content throughout the lessons.
On the other hand, chemistry teacher Eugene Sul uses his unit tests throughout the year to review his students for the midterm. Sul thinks that the main purpose of giving a midterm is to make sure the students are continuously looking at their notes from the year so far so when it comes time for finals they won’t have to look back because they will remember the information.
“Midterms are a way for students to show what they have learned so far, for teachers to figure out what they need to re-teach, and a good way for students (especially freshmen) to get used to the testing environment at the high school,” she said. English teacher Connie Myers-Kelly also thinks midterms are also a good practice because the number of tests students have to take in the high school is increasing, and midterms can help them prepare for those tests. Mrs. Myers-Kelly taught her students the vocab that was on the midterm and gave them a review packet of what they should expect for the midterm. She tries to make sure the homework she gives, prepares them for the test difficulty during the few weeks before midterms.
By reviewing in class and doing homework many students prepared themselves for what they thought would be the most difficult midterm, Global History. Freshman Nico Modesti thought that the Global 9 midterm will be the hardest because in his class they seem to be “rushing through the last units that we need to know for the test.” Freshman Lainey Foti also agrees with Modesti and said, “(Global) is the hardest class I have because it’s a lot of memorization rather than skills.” Sophomore students also thought that Global and Biology would be equally challenging. Sophomore Makenzie Keeler thought that the biology midterm would be the most challenging because “the curriculum is very hard.” However, sophomore Julia Kelner thought that the Global 10 midterm would be the most difficult because the essay will be hard because we don’t know what the topic will be.
Overall the question, are midterms necessary? continues to be asked every year. Foti said that she thinks the midterms are necessary because some kids forget material as they go on because they memorize it for the short term and then just forget about it. Also, Modesti thinks that students “need to challenge the American public today; we are not challenged enough and we need to be challenged a lot more.”
When it comes to preparing and studying for midterms students all usually have the same method. “Studying each night for about 20 minutes and reviewing all the notes and talking to teachers after school,” is freshman Markos Petkopoulos studying method. Other freshman students like Lindsay Hair, Sydney Baum, and Catherine Cargain study old packets and their review sheets.
Stress is often a big factor when it comes to midterms, quizzes, finals, or mostly any types of testing. Foti says that she is overall “pretty relaxed about it now, but when it comes closer to the days I will definitely start to panic.” Hair also gets stressed out when it comes to preparing; “I will always be a little stressed out for tests but I think that I will be going into the test knowing what I need to know.” However Keeler deals with her stress by making flashcards and studying them everyday before the midterm.
Midterms overall can be good and bad for students. Stress and preparing for them can be both challenges when it comes to test day. However, midterms can help student immensely and get them ready for finals. Even if students encounter stress, the work does pay off and get you ready for finals.