by Brooke Wheaton
Rumson Fair Haven Regional High School attendees experienced a dramatic change last year in student assessment. Midterm and final exams were changed into quarterlies, doubling the number of exams per academic year. This decision and action were determined by Middle State’s self studies in order for students to achieve higher marks.
New Jersey’s Middle State process is used to assess individual students and provide feedback for grade increases. Middle States in New Jersey include schools that use midterms and finals, quarterlies, and some schools that do not utilize either; however, many colleges look for schools that provide these tests.
Many RFH students believe quarterlies are beneficial and easier because they require students to remember less information. On the other hand, some think quarterlies are detrimental because they mean more tests and additional pressure. However, the jury is still out; data and statistics are being collected that will show the resulting outcome regarding the transition from midterms and finals to quarterlies.
Mrs. Handerhan, Principal of RFH, revealed that grade averages on quarterlies have been about the same when compared to the previous years of midterms and finals. She is optimistic for the upcoming quarterly exams and schedule, as the 2010-2011 begins the new and possibly improved quarterly schedule.
Mrs. Handerhan’s main goal as principal is to create and maintain a safe and educational high school. She feels that the switch to quarterlies will help students to achieve the latter. Many schools of New Jersey use the method of midterms and finals because those student bodies are different. Rumson Fair Haven has been looking towards the quarterly method for the High School since 2007. This switch was announced during a faculty meeting in May 2009. The Board of Education contributed to making this decision. Professional development demonstrated that quarterlies would be the best for the RFH student body.
While there has been a local push for change, many schools near Rumson still use midterms and finals. Kate Cronin, a sophomore student from Red Bank Regional High School, studies for midterms and finals. Cronin does below average on midterm exams when compared to tests throughout the year, because there is more information to study for.
“I prefer quarterlies because the material is still relevant and new, which gives us more of a chance to remember the information,” Cronin admits. On the other hand, she does not think quarterlies would improve her grades because she would be required to take more tests on the same material.
Zach Beacher, a sophomore at RFH, enjoys quarterlies. He recalls quarterlies having less information to study for. Beacher thinks the tests are similar to midterms because they still act as an overall assessment of skills and knowledge, but finds them easier to study for.
“This makes it a lot less nerve-wracking,” Beacher commented. Giving tests after each quarter also work to improve his grade and helps him understand what is being taught.
Middle State professionals continue to attempt to determine which method is most fitting. Quarterlies benefit or work as a disadvantage to schools depending on the student body. Fortunately, Rumson Fair Haven Regional High School has been one of the top public schools in New Jersey. Until the statistics tell us for sure, quarterlies are here to stay. So make sure you study!
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