Emily Grove

Now that the first year post-pandemic is almost halfway over, things are beginning to feel normal again. However, some norms are less welcome than others as students experience more rigor this school year. One major change is that final exams are back. There is tension and uncertainty around this topic from students as the school reverts back to its pre-Covid procedures.

“I honestly don’t know what to expect even though I’m like the one grade that should know what to expect because I did it my freshman year,” says senior Gavin Rode. “It’s kind of a daunting prospect just thinking of all this information– I think I can just dump that information out of my head, but not quite.”

The main conflict that concerns many teachers and students is whether or not students are prepared for their exams or not. Current freshmen, sophomores, and juniors have never experienced exams before, and current seniors haven’t had any since their freshman year.

“I think it does make this year a little bit more stressful because I haven’t taken like a state test or anything like that since 6th grade,” said freshman class president, Collin Chase. “It’s my first exam ever so I don’t really know what to expect but im not necessarily worried nor excited,”.

After remote learning, we were all in this place where we felt like “what now?” After the administration got the feedback they did, they wanted to make sure there were some changes in the way exams were going to look so that the students felt more confident in their test-taking abilities. Dr. Neil Gupta, Director of Secondary Education, and Assistant Superintendant of Academics, Angie Adrean, surveyed staff and students to make sure that they were seeing the whole picture.

“There was a lot of discussion on what it should look like in the future including the length of time the students get and if it’s 2 hours because that’s what it’s always been then what does that period look like?” said Adrean. “So we asked teachers to come up with exam exemplars so that students weren’t sitting filling out a 200-question scantron for 2 hours. If that’s not the way you’ve been assessed throughout the year and that’s not something you typically do, so why would we ask you to do it during an exam?” continued Adrean. “Some of our conversations were, could part of your exam be a lab, performance, or even a group activity? Could it be reflections or a 30-minute writing sample? How are we dividing up that time?”

This week, a school-wide study session has been available after school. The ever-popular Coca-and-Cram event has returned. Teachers and students have collaborated to promote study habits and provide support after school Tuesday-Thursday of this week. There are many teachers from across content areas available to support students. There is also hot chocolate and cookies provided by the PTSO.

It’s clear that Covid has had a significant impact on education across the nation. Learning these study habits and content before exams is vital to students’ futures with the disruption of education at an all-time high just a few months ago. Good luck to everyone during exams next week– we hope you studied!