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Uniting over the revival season of The X-Files, students adopted the show's famous motto for their cause.

Photo courtesy of www.techtimes.com
Uniting over the revival season of The X-Files, students adopted the show’s famous motto for their cause.

With record high snowfall and six new episodes of The X-Files in mind, Maggie Walker students recently united across grade levels to petition the administration to cancel midterm exams. The school’s decision to cancel exams two years ago set a precedent that encouraged optimism. However, due to fewer missed schools days this year than two years ago, the administration      initially announced that exams would be moved to the following week. This decision sparked outrage among students and parents alike, who were concerned that eight exams in four straight days were unreasonable. Within 24 hours of this announcement, more than 300 students had emailed Dr. McGee their concerns and over 500 had signed a petition for exams to be cancelled. One student even went so far as to mathematically prove why exams were useless, and others physically shoveled snow back into the streets. Thinking that they had everything to gain and nothing to lose by cancelling midterms, Maggie Walker students were relentless in their outcry against exams.

While some students spent their snow days cramming for midterms, others opted to enjoy the days off by going sledding or partying with friends in the hopes of no exams. There was no way to know which choice was the right one, as administration had yet to publicize a decision by Wednesday night. When students returned to school on Thursday, teachers spent the day covering exam material and reviewing key concepts. Once the administration released their decision that exams had, in fact, been cancelled, students cried out victoriously cries throughout the building. That was before the realization hit – that exams would have been far better than what next transpired.

Teachers were given the option of making their exams “cumulative tests,” that could count towards either the first or second semester. Because the final decision regarding exams had been announced at the end of the school day on Thursday, teachers had no idea what was going on throughout the day. Students now had no clue if they were having “cumulative tests” in their second, fourth, or sixth period classes, and a lack of communication through itslearning continued to unnerve students. On Friday, many classes were “free periods,” as teachers didn’t want their odd classes to get ahead of their even counterparts, since they had spent the previous day reviewing for a now nonexistent exam. However, some classes proved to be the opposite.

Several seniors arrived at school on Friday expecting to be exempt from their honors exams and were told they would now be required to take the “cumulative test” – the midterm, in all but name. Many students suddenly found themselves in the undesirable position of having studied for the wrong exams, and were thrown off-guard by yet another shift in their exam schedules. Some seniors were shocked when they walked into class Friday and immediately began the first part of an exam of which they had thought they were exempt. The administration’s changing exam schedule essentially created a disincentive for preparing for midterms: these seniors now faced a disadvantage in their honors classes, as underclassmen had been preparing for these exams for weeks.    Many underclassmen, on the other hand, now faced an equally unfortunate situation: the possibility of eight “cumulative tests” in two days. Students that had protested the idea of eight exams over four days now had less time to take the same number of tests. While these “tests” didn’t count as much as exams, in many cases they were the  exact same assessment or a shortened version and the final grade of the first semester. In the hopes of dispelling some of the stress that plagues Maggie Walker students, the administration and faculty made a decision which ultimately created more stress than if students had taken exams as originally planned. The original shift of exams week to the following Monday through Thursday would have benefitted the students more than the final, confusing resolution. Objections to exams only resulted in more chaos and showed that the administration will eventually give in to the students who complain the loudest. While many protesters voiced concern of a shortage of instruction days, these exams serve as major tools in AP and final exam preparation. Next time, I would encourage those of us who were silent prior to the decision-making to stand up in support of a straightforward, planned exam schedule.

 

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