Opinion: Why did the midterm schedule change again?

Andrew Friel, Co-Editor-in-Chief

In light of the snow day on January 17, the Westford Academy administration has decided to once again change the midterm schedule, citing stress concerns and the program Challenge Success, an initiative focused on reducing student stress in schools around the country, as factors for the decision. 

The first issue that arises with this new schedule is the somewhat last-minute announcement of such a drastic change, with an email being sent out on Tuesday evening. This timing only gave students 24 hours to adjust themselves to the schedule, adding extra stress to the already tough midterm season.

Under the new schedule, shown above, midterms have been shifted all to next week, eliminating the weekend break that so many students rely on to aid in their study process. The elimination of this weekend appears to me to be a rejection of administration’s recent push to reduce student stress.

The goals of Challenge Success have been to help students reduce stress surrounding school while still getting a great education within Westford Schools. I have felt good about the direction that administration has been taking this school in the 2017-18 school year, however, this quick implementation of a delay of midterms seems to me to be the antithesis of the progress made recently.

With all due respect to administration, I feel the solution that would keep student stress down would have been to keep the schedule as it had been announced last week, with exams beginning on Friday of this week. This would keep the weekend intact and give students plenty of time to prepare.

In place of the weekend in the middle of exams, a half day has been scheduled, where three classes will occur and school will end early in order to foster student studying. However, I feel this is a wasted day of classes, and one that will result in many student absences, especially from seniors.

Students may as well have the day off in order to study more, however, I do know that would not be possible considering all the days already missed this year due to inclement weather.

Don’t get me wrong; from a student perspective, particularly as a senior, this is an ideal situation, due to the lack of actual classes for the majority of next week. This is mostly due to the slightly reduced pressure of midterms when one has received a handful of college acceptances. However, looking at myself in the first three years at WA, this schedule would really have upset me, mainly due to the timing and the elimination of the key weekend.

Quite frankly, how much more time do teachers really need to get ready for exams? Besides in-class essays for English, which are typically done within one day, I don’t see the value in delaying midterms further than they already have been. In fact, in my experiences, I have not even heard any faculty complaining about a lack of adequate preparation time for the midyear exams.

Allowing midterms to begin on Friday still gives students and teachers one more day to meet all together, retains the use of valuable weekend study time for those students who need and use it, and all the while continues the values of Challenge Success that administration has done so well up to this point in implementing.