BY SABRINA WONG
Cool temperatures fill the air, hot cocoa becomes increasingly more popular across the masses and holiday spirit arises as Christmas music begins to play on many popular radio stations. But, before students can enjoy a relaxing two-week winter break celebrating all the upcoming festivities, there’s one thing that students most definitely do not look forward to: the frightening midterm week.
The midterms for such rigorous courses should not be required for students to take, and instead, should be optional.
Midterms are normally taken the week before break starts, signifying the end of the first semester. While students at CCHS take a total of seven classes with one study hall, up to three exams may be exempted if eligible with qualifying quarter grades.
Students must earn a grade of a “B” or higher in both marking periods of the respective high school course during the semester in order to be able to exempt the midterm exam. But why are Advanced Placement (AP) and End-of-Course (EOC) courses excluded from exemptions?
These classes are just as hard, or even more difficult, than regular or honors classes. The midterms for such rigorous courses should not be required for students to take, and instead, should be optional.
“It would be a lot easier on me if they weren’t required to take.”
AP courses give high school students the opportunity to take on college-level work and earn college credit and placement. Over 30 AP courses are offered through CollegeBoard, in a large variety of different subjects. Some of these subjects include arts, English, math, science as well as world languages and cultures.
Being able to exempt the midterms for AP classes would relieve stress and anxiety for many students. Stress can result in various consequences, such as slowed digestion, shaking, tunnel vision, accelerated breathing and heart rate, dilation of pupils and flushed skin. Other more severe effects include heart problems, strokes and even cancer.
“I already have to work so diligently in the four AP classes I’m taking for two straight quarters, so not being able to exempt any AP midterms gives me so much more unnecessary stress,” junior Sandra Garcia said. “It would be a lot easier on me if they weren’t required to take.”
High school teachers who teach AP classes often structure them to be more difficult than actual college classes. Many of these teachers assign heavier workloads and give out tests with a higher level of difficulty. This causes many students to struggle to perform well and achieve a passing grade. Ultimately, it becomes more of a challenge to receive a good grade on the midterm.
If a student were to fail the midterm, it can result in the student’s grade point average (GPA) dropping. Lower GPAs mean lower class ranks and reduced chances of being accepted into selective colleges.
Dr. Hozebin has been informing ninth grade students during personalization classes that EOC class midterm exams are also mandatory, while the final exams are not.
Hard working students who acquire good quarter grades should be able to exempt their midterm exam, regardless of whether or not it’s an AP or an EOC course.
EOC courses certainly should be eligible for midterm exam exemption, though. If the right to exempt is provided in one class, why shouldn’t it be provided in all other classes? This would be an unfair advantage to students who are taking very few EOC courses versus those who are taking multiple.
For example, Algebra 1 is an EOC class, meaning that students enrolled in this course must take the EOC assessment at the end of the year. However, Algebra 2 is not an EOC class. Instead of taking the EOC assessment, students are only required to take the final exam, which is distributed by their teacher.
Since Algebra 1 is considered an EOC course, students are unable to avoid this midterm. Yet Algebra 2 students are able to exempt theirs. If the Algebra 2 midterm isn’t mandatory for students, then the Algebra 1 midterm shouldn’t be mandatory either.
Exempting midterms is a reward for high grades, and should be open to those who earn it. Hard working students who acquire good quarter grades should be able to exempt their midterm exam, regardless of whether or not it’s an AP or an EOC course. All students deserve to have the same exemption rights, despite the rigor of the class.
Photo by Alexandra Sansone