Though students leave for Winter Break with hopes of relaxation and spending time with family and friends, their happiness is soon cut short with the reminder that when they return, Dead Week, followed by first semester exams, will begin. Although many students wish for exams to be before the break, the powers that be have certain laws permitting times for the tests.
According to Assistant Principal of Curriculum Mark Watson, the dates for exams are set by the district and dependent upon the start date and overall schedule of the school year. When he was in school, his exams would be before the break, but he and his classmates would have to start school around August 7th, contrary to the later August start we see today.
The problem arises that when students start their vacations, they often travel to other states. This plan would be thrown off considering some states, especially in the North don’t begin school until after Labor Day. For example, not all schools work in semesters; some work with trimesters and other work with a 6 six week on two to three weeks on schedule.
I love having my head stuck in a textbook as much as the next person, but I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say trying to finish up a lesson before the break and then remembering them when we return can sometimes be overwhelming.
I agree with Watson when he explained that as long as the teachers keep a good pace and work appropriately, students should reach the point where they are ready and feel comfortable with each class’ materials. As students practice and reinforce lessons repeatedly throughout the semester, eventually they will stick with them and shouldn’t be that hard to review. But when most classes, especially the core ones, contain a large amount of content to be taught, it’s the responsibility of the teacher to stay on task and for students to keep up with all work.
Several teachers take into consideration the pros and cons of having exams before the break or keeping them after. Physics and Earth Space teacher Stephen Messina prefers to have exams after because he knows there’s a lot of information in his courses, and having exams before the break would make things too rushed.
By contrast, TV Production and English teacher Christopher Kearney likes the fact that having exams before the break would allow students to begin their vacation with a sense of completion and have the two weeks to unwind before the new semester begins.
Since exams are inevitable anyways, I would personally love to have them before winter break so I wouldn’t have to worry about studying and could look forward to the fresh start in January.
However, I’m not as eager to think about starting school two to three weeks earlier since my family and I don’t come back from our vacation until early August. The current system that is now in place works, so the only thing us students can do is either make use of spare time over the Winter Break or wait for the impending Dead Week when we return to school.
Emily Goldbach / Opinion Editor