A need for an academic testing calendar

  Students face the stress of multiple tests on a daily basis.

Students face the stress of multiple tests on a daily basis.

The problem of test overlap has become a serious concern for students, and the implementation of a more regulated test schedule is a necessity.

The United States Department of Education has declared boundaries for teachers to abide by when assigning and creating tests. Some of the testing regulations include limiting the amount of tests students take to maximize learning time, accurately track the progress of students and equally represent a student’s needs. However, some of these regulations are not properly implemented throughout BHS. The majority of students experience testing overlaps, especially as the six-week grading periods or semesters come to an end. With this excess of testing, students are forced to confront more stress than they can manage.

“It would really help if the teachers and the departments could coordinate about when they have tests because it is overly stressful to study for multiple tests at once” junior Lily Navab said.

Students have also expressed feelings that teachers do not fully understand the extent of their stress which they must confront on a daily basis.

“Most teachers only think about the tests they assign, not the ones other teachers give.” freshman Margot Bender said.

The majority of teachers do not coordinate with others and set high expectations of their students’ studying. Without acknowledging other tests, work, extracurriculars, social issues and more, teachers expect the full and undivided attention towards studying for their classes.

“We do not coordinate with other departments,” chemistry teacher Alexandra Kirkpatrick said. “It is hard because we [the chemistry department], plan so far ahead. I will know three or four months out when we will have a test in chemistry because we have to plan the whole year. At that point, I can’t check with other departments to see if they have tests.”

Students are given multiple tests within the same week and are forced to make the best out of their stressful situation. If teachers cannot coordinate with one another, students are given multiple tests at once.  They do not take into account the amount of time dedicated to the other work and activities students engage in. The traditional fun times of high school no longer apply to today’s students.

“I had the opportunity to be more active in my ballet school’s Nutcracker that I had been performing for the past 11 years,” Navab said. “I decided to take a break from taking part in the production because of my studying and homework load.”

In order to fix this issue, certain limitations need to be put in place. To prevent students from having unfair advantages over others by being given an extra day to study, the chemistry department implements their own policy of no tests on block days.

However, the policy does not carry to other departments throughout the school. If this policy were to be in place, students would all be given an equal opportunity to study and learn the material on tests. This would abide by the United States Department of Education’s policy that all tests should be equal for all students by receiving a more accurate measurement of a student’s intelligence.

Another possible policy is assigning each department a specific day to have tests, preventing the stressful overlap in a student’s life. The stress of tests would decrease and students could give their undivided attention to studying for one specific test.

However, students must also consider the commitments of the classes they enroll in and the immense amounts of studying they entail. For those taking AP classes, the stakes are much higher because students are taking college level courses and are expected to provide the same effort as college students. Students are often unprepared for the transition into the never-ending cycle of test taking.

“Most students take AP classes just because it is an AP class or because everyone else is taking one, not necessarily because they are prepared for it,” Navab said. When you choose to do an AP class, you need to understand that commitment.”

Students feel overwhelmed by the number of tests they have throughout the week because of the rigor of the courses and the lack of coordination between different subject departments. The testing situation has grown to be a looming issue for students, showing the overwhelming need for the implementation of testing regulations at BHS.

Posted on November 26, 2017 .