This past week, the halls of NUHS had the familiar scent of exams hanging in the air, making it seem almost sticky, as if the smell had truly formidable substance. We all know the smell — reminiscent of musk, garbage, and sulfur — a smell that is only produced by stress and anxiety. Normally we’d be spared the smell for a couple more weeks but a new mandate, decreed on high, has been instituted vigorously. The students in classes this trimester, and those to come, will have three exams to take for every class (one every five weeks, on average).
Happy 25th to these two lovebirds!
The explanation is centered on the belief that an early assessment will allow teachers to identify struggling students before it’s too late to remediate them, in addition to providing the students more chances to redeem their grades. Sure, the idea seems reasonable in theory, and one could argue that some classes already had that set-up. However, the amount of testable material inherent to those classes demand the third exam to ensure all the pertinent material is covered thoroughly. Unfortunately, there are two sides to every coin and the flipside of this particular coin contains the classes for which there isn’t enough material to create three exams that are truly reflective of the material. In this situation, professors have few options other than reaching outside of that class wheelhouse to create enough questions. A more ideal solution would be to approach this issue of early assessment on a class-by-class basis — deferring to the professors’ opinions on the matter. Regardless of what I think of the matter, I can also see its utility in regard to creating better retention and student participation.
Of course, there is one more reason why 3 exams a trimester is a positive thing… another reason to celebrate every trimester! This past weekend, the reason to celebrate was two-fold. We had finished our Week 5 early assessments, and there was a smattering of birthdays as well! Moral of the story is: exams are transient, but friends are forever.