No Midterms? Not exactly…

No Midterms? Not exactly...

By Liam Sheeley, Assistant Reporter

In your normal Xavier school year, students dedicate the two weeks before winter break to midterms: one for reviewing material and one for taking the exams. There have been many rumors and much speculation about whether the current national situation regarding COVID-19 would prevent midterms from taking place. Now, students finally have their answer.

The short answer is no, there will be no midterms for the 2020-2021 school year. However, the more accurate answer is that there will not be midterm exams as in years past but teachers will have the option to assign cumulative tests.

So what does that mean? Well, it means that teachers will have the option to administer cumulative assessments toward the end of the second quarter. These assessments would be similar to normal tests in length, but they would cover a wide range of material from the whole year like a midterm.

As far as reasons for the change go, they are, at least in part, as follows. The administration is fully aware of the fact that the new schedule (and now virtual learning) means that students and teachers have lost a lot of class time overall and are behind in the curriculum. With that in mind, the new plan dictates that the one-to-two weeks that were dedicated to midterms in previous years will now be regular classes, either in person or virtual. This goes a long way to buy back time for teachers and students to catch up on class material. The other main reason behind this decision is the issue of academic dishonesty. With everyone currently attending school virtually, the issue of cheating has become an epidemic among the student body. Logically, if we are still online by the time midterms rolled around, many students would simply cheat on their exams. This would then indirectly serve to punish those who are honest about their work and choose not to cheat. With no midterms, the problem is avoided altogether.

What does this mean for students’ grades? At the end of the year, when grades are being calculated, the four quarter grades will be weighted equally with the final exam being weighted half of what the quarter grades are weighted. For one semester classes, the grades from the first and second marking period will each account for half of the final average.

So there you go. No midterms…technically speaking. Now, it should be said that there is no plan set in stone yet as far as final exams go. As with the United States as a whole, the situation at Xavier regarding the Coronavirus is rapidly evolving. The circumstances of December may very well be drastically different from those of May. Therefore, it remains to be seen what will happen there.