Quarterlies to be given at Westwood

Larissa Lamarca, Staff Writer

At the end of October, students at Westwood Jr./Sr. High School will take quarterlies for the first time.  They will be taken at the end of every quarter, rather than a midterm and a final.

Last year, an assessment committee was formed by teachers and administrators to change the system of testing in the schools. Westwood Jr./Sr. High School Principal Frank Connelly explained their reasoning: “Due to the amount of mandated state testing as well as looking at the overall purpose of exams, it was time to make changes.”  Connelly was not yet the principal of the high school but he agrees with the decision.

Many high schools have started to make similar changes to their system. Schools are now recognizing that students are under a lot of pressure when taking a two hour exam that cover a lot of material. In the past, midterms and finals would consist of two exams per day throughout a four day time span. These lasted two hours each and covered two marking periods worth of work. They counted as 10 percent of the student’s final grade.

This year, exams will be admitted at the end of each of the four marking periods. Students will be given 54 minute periods to complete their exam. They will be done in a rotation so that students are taking only two exams in one day. These tests will count as 5 percent of the student’s final grade.

Connelly said, “The main purpose of exams is to assess what students have learned which can lead to possible changes in the curriculum and teaching.” When students take these exams, teachers are able to assess their own teaching and make changes or improve where it’s needed. Teachers do not do this only during the exams, but regularly all year round.

Aside from teachers benefiting from these exams, the students are the main purpose for the change. The amount of pressure on them to study excessive amounts of material and take long tests, is a large part of why the change has occurred. Additionally, there are a number of other tests throughout the year such as the PARCC, PSAT, SAT, ACT and AP exams, which all students take at some point in high school.

Quarterly exams will begin on October 28 and last through November 2.