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Midterms, finals move marking periods for next year

Seventh grade student Shelby McCloskey works on her stressful benchmark project.  Changing the midterm and final to an earlier marking period would help reduce stress for many students. Photo taken by Tyler McCloskey.
Seventh grade student Shelby McCloskey works on her stressful benchmark project. Changing the midterm and final to an earlier marking period would help reduce stress for many students. Photo taken by Tyler McCloskey.

Starting next year, midterms and finals that are currently in the second and fourth marking period will be moved to the first and third marking period.

“Because of the Keystone testing, the PSSAs and all the standardized testing at the end of the year, teachers felt that was too much stress on students,” Literacy Coach Keri Harrington said.

Teachers saw that the benchmark testing during the second and fourth marking periods were turning into a problem.

“Some of the teachers spearheaded the problem, then some of the teachers contacted the acting superintendent, Dr. Marylou Ray. She and Lori Mangan spoke and they decided that there were too many tests going on at one time,” Harrington said.

Harrington thinks that the future ninth graders will be the most affected by this change.

“It will affect all grade levels, but mostly just ninth grade, since ninth grade is the year that the finals are given,” Harrington said.

The final test that usually occurs in the fourth marking period will be switched to a different learning method.

“There will be a project instead of a big test,” Literacy Coach Julie Storm said.

Storm and Harrington agreed that there should not be any problems because of this change.

“I really do not foresee any problems,” Harrington said.

However, there are many benefits to this change.

“Students will not be as stressed. I think that with the pressure of the Keystones, it may help to relieve some of that pressure,” Storm said.

They believe that the school year would have been better for the students if this change was made this year.

“There could have been nice projects made,” Storm said.

“Especially for eighth graders, math is the subject area where students feel the pressure the most. Students having the Algebra I Keystone and PSSA back to back and then turning around to get ready for a final is stressful.  If we could have eliminated that final, that would have taken some of the pressure off,” Harrington said.

Harrington and Storm agree that this change will help seventh and eighth graders who would have to worry about taking the PSSAs and worry about a final.

“Well, hopefully the project or benchmark test that those teachers make will reflect the things that they’re already doing to get ready for PSSA. It should be woven so that it shouldn’t be something completely separate,” Harrington said.

“Yes, it (the final) just falls into what the teachers want students to learn. They will just assess students on it so that it can all go together,” Storm said.

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