The Necessity of Midterm Exams

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Soraya Masrour and Claire Sloniewsky

As midterms come to a close at Ward Melville High School, there has been a debate among students about the importance of midterms and whether or not they are necessary for each class. Many individuals highlight the negatives, while others argue that they can be extremely advantageous and ultimately promote the success of students.
Some believe that midterms are necessary because they permit teachers to assess what students have learned from their instruction. These exams showcase their academic capabilities and allow students to learn how to prepare for major exams, including regents or final exams.
Moreover, such assessments allow students to evaluate their own study methods and determine whether they are successful or not. Through the scores students receive on a major exam, such as a midterm, teachers are able to assess the progress of their students and areas where improvement is necessary. Midterm exams are a thorough way to consider and evaluate the topics students are struggling with and those that need to be reviewed in class. Additionally, experience that comes from studying for a midterm exam can be utilized later in the year when studying for finals. Through reviewing and preparing, students are able to relearn previously forgotten material and may evaluate as well as correct past mistakes. These actions can teach individuals what preparations are necessary in the future when studying for final exams.
Furthermore, if a student were to perform poorly on their midterm exam, they have the opportunity to review and understand their mistakes as well as evaluate the effectiveness of the study methods they utilized before a final exam. Although they are difficult to prepare for and may seem frustrating to complete, midterm exams are extremely beneficial and can positively affect students at Ward Melville High School.
Critics of midterms argue that a student’s knowledge of a topic is not best demonstrated by a significant test at the end of the semester. Many students are well acquainted with the material and have a sufficient understanding of the class, but completing a test requires applicable test taking skills, which not every student has. Some students are better at completing projects and assignments rather than tests and quizzes. It is unfair to make one test worth more than any other assignment in a semester, especially for those who have a comprehensive understanding of the material, but are poor test takers. These exams cause stress, specifically because of the significant weighting of these assessments and the impact this grade could potentially have on a student’s overall average and GPA.
The end of the quarter is always a stressful time because students are making sure all their assignments are turned in. Midterms add to the stress of both teachers and the students. It may appear to be a good check point for teachers to evaluate the progress of their students and begin to make course recommendations for next year, but on the contrary, one exam grade shouldn’t define a student’s intelligence or understanding of a topic.
While there are negative and positive effects of midterm exams at Ward Melville, the positives clearly outweigh the negatives in the eyes of the teachers and administrators. Midterms remain a controversial topic in schools for both students and the administrations.