CON: Midterms should take place regardless of the learning environment

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Grace Wininger '23, Copy Editor

The upcoming semester’s end is typically a time of study groups and flashcards; midterms just around the corner means study mode for everybody. But at the dawn of the face-to-face year, these annual tests have been canceled completely.

These exams hold students accountable for everything they’ve learned within the first semester time frame, and without them looming around the corner, many students, including myself, have equipped a method of studying called “cramming”. Right before a test, we take in as much information as possible through flashcards, practice tests, or existing study guides.

This method of studying right before a test causes all the information to be stored in the short-term memory. And without the threat of midterms requiring us to recall that information, we do nothing to move it into long-term brain storage.

Last year, final exams were canceled for most students due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a sophomore, I won’t have gone through an entire year of high school until my junior year. This lack of experience is leaving me and my fellow students wildly unprepared for our future. When this time rolls around next year, no one will have any idea what to do. This unpreparedness is going to cause extreme amounts of anxiety and stress, and for students that are already working so hard just to pass their class on an average day? It’ll be too much.

The skills that are tested in midterms are more than just what you learned in the first semester. Time-management, prioritizing, thinking on your feet, they’re all skills that are honed by midterm exams. Without the training these tests provide, we’ll be completely unprepared for the remainder of high school, as well as college.

Some people may argue the cancellation of these tests offer a needed respite from the stress of returning to face-to-face classes. And while I agree with the idea of self-care, in this instance it is likely to be detrimental to everybody involved. Students who have to take the SAT and ACT next year won’t have the training they need to do well because they are out of practice.

Understandably, the administration wouldn’t want to put more stress on students because of the current pandemic. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be held to the same standard that we’ve been held to in the past. Midterms could be made optional instead of mandatory, or teachers could offer an amended version of the exam.

Students need to be held accountable for the information they’ve learned because it separates the students who work hard from the students who don’t. Canceling these exams invalidates the hard work many students are doing to retain the learned information by not giving them a chance to use it. The school created a schedule specifically built to maximize learning time online. So if we’re learning the same amount as we would be face-to-face, why aren’t we being tested the same amount? Midterm cancellation is going to cause a lot of problems in the future, and I, for one, won’t support that.

PRO: Midterms should be canceled for betterment of the students