A Review on the New Academic Adjustments to Mid-Year Testing

Christopher Moronta ’22

This school-year is a one of a kind experience, especially when it comes to academics and everyday school life. The new virtual atmosphere and changes to everyday learning have had a distinguishable impact on the capabilities of the school, most specifically, semester testing. This year Salesian High School has canceled all written examinations for all grade levels and replaced them with projects for students to submit by specific deadlines. This system of semester testing has proven to have its benefits as well as its downsides especially for the students. Time, workload, and effort, all are factors in the effectiveness of this new system. 

One of the major benefits of the system is that students are able to achieve higher grades on their exams due to the availability of resources and greater chances of thoroughly completing their assignments, as opposed to a 90 minute sit-down exam. This was mainly because of the percentage of students now learning from home and the need to create a fair and equally challenging examination for both in-person and online instructed students. The announcement of the projects were a major relief for many students, especially knowing that hours of hard work and stress were not needed to be contributed towards studying. Overall, the change from exams to projects created a calmer atmosphere for students, and allowed many to feel more comfortable considering the circumstances. 

Some of the minor downsides to this system, however, stems from the time consumed by the need to thoroughly complete these projects. Many of the assignments seemed to be tedious, especially when required to compose extensive amounts of pages to assure oneself of achieving the best grade possible. In many cases, semester projects this year centered around time management and quality of work. It also tested the students’ ability to incorporate all the semester information they learned, and relate it to their individual projects. Many students, although relieved of stress from studying, felt as though the system this year was a waste of time and tremendously overbearing to complete. These issues, though minor, still bring into question the effectiveness of semester projects as opposed to examinations and whether or not they should be taken into consideration as a replacement for Final exams at the end of the year. 

The mid year examinations each year were seen to be proof for teachers as to how well their students have comprehended and learned from their classes since September. Nevertheless, under the given circumstances, the semester projects have become a satisfactory replacement for semester exams. Looking at both the benefits and the drawbacks helps us visualize the impact of this new era on the school as well as the administration’s effort to keep things as normal and as comfortable as possible for students across the board. This learning experience showcased the need to improve, adapt, and unite to ensure the success of academic life and the overall Salesian Community.