January Regents Week: Scheduling Discrepancies and Heavily Weighted Exams

By Annie Xiao

Continuing the policy enacted for first term finals last year, the administration scheduled fall semester finals for the 2013 January Regents week. These periodic, uniform assessments test students’ understanding of all the topics covered during the fall term.

These exams give students an opportunity to study all they have learned in the first term.

Scott Weber, a Biology teacher, said for Advanced Placement (AP) courses, “The Advanced Placement exam is very important, so the periodic assessment is a good excuse to review for the AP exam.”

Some students, however, had to review for several exams on one day. For example, Dhaffau Leon ’14 had her Physics and AP Biology finals on the same day. She said of the scheduling, “It takes time to study. It’s hard to transition from one mindset to another. It makes things more stressful.”

Shelly N ’15 had English and Digital Electronics finals back-to-back. She suggested having each final on separate days. “I need a lot of time to study,” she added.

Amy Lucisano, a Social Studies teacher, said, “I know the sheer number of students at Tech poses real problems regarding scheduling finals. In general, I am not opposed to a schedule that provides designated time slots for each subject area.”

Lucisano also acknowledged her students’ grueling finals schedule. She said, “The current schedule does pose a problem for some of the majors. For my students in the Social Science major, because finals in the three non-Regents classes in the major will all be designated for the same day, those students will likely end up with at least three exams that day, not including potential finals they may have in the other subject also designated for that day.” Students in both Law and Society and Social Science Research take multiple non-Regents social studies courses that were all slated for January 18th, which made their quite hectic.

Another disputed aspect of January Regents week exams is that they are heavily weighted. Weber is opposed to the periodic assessment being worth 20% of final semester grades. He said, “I think the periodic assessment is worthwhile, but there are more important things than an exam.”

To reassure students who believe the final made up a majority of their grade, Weber says he counted his AP Biology classes’ final as one exam. He continued, “My philosophy of grading is that it is unfair to make an exam worth a very large percentage of the entire grade. Grading should be spread out more evenly.”

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