Change Midterms

Kedrick Delino

It’s a new year. School is back in session and students at BC High and many other high schools across the nation are preparing for midterm exams during the second and third weeks of January. As students at BC High, we are trained to challenge ourselves to become our best selves: men for others. Challenging yourself here at BC High, and every other high school in the country, includes taking advanced placement courses in order to polish our high school transcripts and significantly improve our academic skills, which may involve large assessments such as midterms.

At the end of the 2018-2019 school year, students at BC High were informed that during the 2019-2020 school year, there would be no more final exams. Replacing the final exams were midterm exams in regular, honors, and AP classes in mid January. Ew. Having midterms count as a grade for regular and honors classes… sure. But for AP courses? Terrible idea. From September-May, students who take AP courses grind towards their goal: the AP Exam created and hosted by The College Board. Teachers may ask, “Why are AP Midterms considered a bad idea?” I will tell you why. Both the AP midterm exams and the AP exams in the spring count towards our grade (midterm = 20% of semester 1/AP exam = 20% of semester 2). Everyone at BC High knows that all four quarters alone are the most stressful thing known to man, especially when you take one or more AP courses.

First things first, AP Midterm exams should not even count in the first place. The student body knows it, and individual faculty members know it. Why should they not count? Well, midterm exams for all courses are good, but the percentage of the student body that takes AP midterms can benefit a lot more by having the AP midterm exams not count as anything. Instead, the exams should be viewed as a 2-hour practice exam in preparation for the AP exam in May. We can get both our exam scores back and the physical exam itself to review what we need to work on individually in proper preparation for the real deal in May. One of my friends pitched my idea to his teacher, and she made a counter argument for why this idea is not a good one: “If the AP Midterms do not count as an actual exam, students would not try.” False. Students who take AP courses are students who want to succeed in any way possible. You do not take AP courses for “fun”. Instead, you take them to develop academic skills in order to prepare for the exam in May. It’s like the PSAT; the majority of students try because they know it will benefit them when they take the SAT (the PSAT does not count for anything). We are young adults at BC High. It is our responsibility to either try our best or not.

AP midterms that count only add on to our stress as students who already have enough stress in our lives. For AP students, it is essentially taking two final exams within the span of 3.5 months. Regular and honors students only have to worry about midterms, but AP students are preparing for two major exams that can easily destroy individual grades. Please consider this change because it will only benefit the student body in the end. BC High can keep the same midterm schedule. However, I and many others, including teachers, firmly believe that removing the 20% that counts towards our semester grade will be the greatest good for the greatest amount of people. In addition, the class of 2020 should not have to be stressing over an AP midterm because their BC High days are practically over. The pros outweigh the cons in this situation, and it is never too late to make a change. AMDG. Be men and women for others and please take this into consideration.