Testing Our Time

Every year, in the weeks surrounding Winter Break, students’ stress levels are at an all-time high. This is when they start prepping themselves for midterms, which cover everything they’ve learned in each class up to that point. They normally occur right before students are released for winter holidays.

The week before Winter Break can be one of the most stressful of the school year for students. Midterms should not be before Winter Break, but after. The current way midterms are arranged is too stressful for students to handle. This year Klein ISD is going back to finishing the semester before Winter Break.

Students need a different schedule for midterms because having it before Winter Break is not enough time for studying. From the very beginning of school up until late December, students are being crammed with information. Then, the week preceding midterms, students get to review information in each class. Also, the state has to adhere to House Bill 2610, which lengthens school days so students can have more holidays. This alone is not enough studying time, but semester classes have even less time because of shortened grading periods. It is almost impossible to expect students to remember that much from such a long time before in a few days, which is why midterms should be moved.

Students could also use extra time to study for their midterms because anxiety can often overwhelm them. Recent research shows that 16-20% of students admit to having test anxiety. This can mean a multitude of things, depending on the student, but some of the most common effects are “blanking” on tests, which causes a student to forget everything they had just studied, as soon as the test is set in front of them. Test anxiety can reduce a student’s working memory, to the point where “blanking” occurs, but other things may also occur, such as a student confusing their reasoning, and increased mistakes. If students had Winter Break to study for all their midterms, these anxieties will be lessened.

Students require extra time for midterm preparations because they will feel more in control of their learning. As the regular school year flies by and leads up to Winter Break, students have less and less time to study for midterms because they are already doing so much homework and studying for other tests. Also, there is no way to know what to study until the week before the actual tests, so many students save most of the studying for then, when they have actual class time to review. By moving midterms to the week following Winter Break, however, students will have studying time on their own agendas, instead of having to work around other classes.

Those opposed to the rescheduling of midterms to after Winter Break say that the school year is plenty of time to study if the time is used wisely; students will not stress over their break; and it is the student’s responsibility to take control of their learning. However, the time allotted in the school year is not enough time because students already have hours of homework and regular tests to study for, and adding even more studying to their routines would most likely overwhelm them. Students will not be stressed over their break, because they will have extra studying time and will feel better prepared. Students do have control of their learning, but low test scores due to anxiety and not enough preparation can cause them to believe otherwise.

To repair the issues with midterms, they could be moved to the week after Winter Break. This way, students would have more time to study and really feel prepared and ready for their midterms, instead of how they feel now.

Students about to take their midterms need to feel like they can handle it. If midterms continue the way they are now, students will only feel like they are drowning in schoolwork.