Students take exams before break

By Eman Albash

The last day of winter break used to mean cramming, retrieving old notes from the bottom of backpacks and staying up until 2 a.m. However, the holidays will be different this year, because for the first time ever midterm exams will be before winter break. Exams are scheduled to take place Dec. 18, 21 and 22.

Last year a committee met to discuss different types of schedules. According to principal Kip Greenhill, the goal of the committee was to consider possible changes to the schedule of the 2009-10 school year.

“One of the things we talked about was changing the semester to end before winter break,” Greenhill said. “What we came up with instead of starting school early was we would do exams before the break but not change the starting day of school.”

Students will be perhaps the most impacted by the change of the exam schedule. Senior Ronnie Wehner said he likes the idea of having exams before winter break for several reasons.

“I think it will make [winter break] a lot less stressful,” Wehner said.  “There will be less worrying about how you are going to do on the exams and it will be nice not to have homework over the holidays.”

Wehner also said he thinks his exam scores will be better with midterms earlier, although he did say it might take a year or two for scores to increase because teachers are not used to the new exam schedule yet.

“I think over time that this should definitely increase people’s scores,” Wehner said. “I feel as if I always know the subject matter better before break than I do after it.”

Math teacher Diane Kahle said she thinks having exams earlier will also produce higher exam scores.

“I think many [students] will still have topics fresh in their mind and so they will likely do better,” Kahle said.

However, Kahle said winter break will not be any easier for teachers with exams already finished. Since midterms are before winter break instead of after, teachers will have to rewrite the exams and take some of the major topics off. Also, instead of writing the exams during the holidays teachers will now be grading them, which Kahle said is much worse.

However, Greenhill  said he thinks having exams before break will be advantageous to both teachers and students.

“It would take some of the pressure off teachers to do all that grading in a short amount of time in January,” Greenhill said. “It also allows teachers to give students back the semester exams so they can use it as a teaching tool.”