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  • Charlotte Luke

Students' Take On Final Assessments

Vidhi Patel and Alyssa Baugh study in the library

Last December was a lot. At the end of the semester, some of my classes assigned an “alternative assessment”―as in, an exam alternative―but gave an additional exam nonetheless; in other classes, I had either a project or an exam; while in some, the curriculum continued, and we took a test on the last unit. I was confused and overworked. This year, the Upper School administration clarified the parameters of our semester assessments, but I wondered if there remains room for improvement. I was also curious how other students might compare last year’s end of semester to this year’s. To get student feedback, I interviewed Glynn Chesser, a senior, and Grace Ferguson, a junior; I also questioned a fellow sophomore, Catie Elder.

The following interviews have been edited for clarity.

Charlotte Luke, sophomore: How did you feel about last year’s semester assessments?

Glynn Chesser, senior: It was super stressful because half the teachers gave us a project and an exam. They gave us way too much work for one class.

Grace Ferguson, junior: Some teachers didn’t know whether they should give us an exam or a project, so they just gave us an exam that we took during a regular class period. It was a whole year packed into a 45-minute test.

Charlotte: How do you feel about this year’s semester assessments?

Grace and Glynn: It’s better.

Charlotte: Are there any improvements that could still be made?

Grace: I think people should have the option to choose when to take their exams. Also, that Monday isn’t going to help anyone because you’ve already spent the weekend studying―it would be better to have a review day before that weekend. That way, Monday can be an exam day.

Glynn: Lots of seniors are frustrated because they have projects next semester instead of exams, so they can’t exempt anything next semester―you can’t exempt projects.

Charlotte Luke, sophomore: How many exams do you have this semester?

Catie Elder, sophomore: I have an exam in all of my classes, which sucks, but next semester I don’t have any exams―just projects. Like, maybe you shouldn’t be allowed to have five exams in one semester.

Charlotte Luke: How did you feel about last year’s semester assessments, and how do you feel about this year?

Catie: Last year was worse because I had projects and exams at the same time in the same class.

Charlotte: Are there any improvements that could still be made?

Catie: I don’t like having two exams in one day. I wish we had one every day instead of two.