By Lauren Gustafson
With the end of the second quarter approaching, Howard County high school students received the surprising news that after determined efforts by the Board of Education the midterm exams were canceled. Student Member of the Board, Peter Banyas, announced the change on his Instagram on Oct. 23.
This change, introduced and voted on at the Dec. 16 board meeting, states that “for SY21-22 only, midterms are suspended, and finals are given a grade weight of 10%”. The motion carried 6-2 and was cited as a result of the recent rises in Covid-19 numbers. The outbreaks at various high schools and the increase of 3700 students quarantined made the decision essential for county executives.
Naturally, the cancellation of these lengthy tests has excited students, who report being very pleased by the change. Senior Eliana Poirier reflects that in the past, these tests have made her, “very stressed, it’s a lot of studying — especially math classes because it’s a lot to remember” but that she is now, “happy because I don’t have to take my midterms anymore.”
Senior Lily Gordon confirms these feelings, emphasizing that this decision made her feel “good” and that it “relieves a lot of stress”. As she looks to the future, however, she introduces a concern about the end-of-year finals which Banynas has announced to now carry 10% of classes’ final grades. Gordon emphasizes that “I think finals should be cut too.”
These concerns are also true for senior Ana Hoover, who along with the implications for this year suggests a systematic change. She stated, “Yes, [this should be a permanent change], I don’t understand why you have the need to test kids on things they learn at the beginning of the school year”. This attitude is carried between Gordon and Hoover.
Poirier, however, thinks that both sets of tests should remain the precedent in non-covid years, seeing the benefits in how they translate later in life. With many Mt. Hebron students continuing their education in college, she notes that “You have to take midterms in college anyways so why would you get rid of them totally in high school.”
There certainly is an array of opinions on how these tests were handled, however, all students interviewed fondly accepted the county’s decision to maintain the half days where the midterms were scheduled. Though finals will be more challenging, the temporary relief of tests this week certainly came with this ideal new schedule.