The Student News Site of High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering

The Echo

The Student News Site of High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering

The Echo

The Student News Site of High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering

The Echo

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Testing The Limit

Testing+The+Limit

At HSMSE, constant homework and testing are an integral part of the rigorous academic life. Understandably, it gets exponentially more difficult when students are given multiple examinations within a single day. At the end of each marking period, which occurs six times each academic year, it’s nearly impossible to avoid teenage sleep deprivation – because of constant and demanding test schedules. To support HSMSE students and make their workdays more manageable, HSMSE’s testing schedule was created.

Something that all freshmen and transfer students at HSMSE learn about in new student orientation is HSMSE’s testing schedule. The testing schedule is intended to be a supportive system to keep HSMSE students’ assessment load from becoming too exhaustive or arduous. The schedule is designed to give students time to study and adequately prepare by allowing only two – of four – academic classes to give examinations on any one given day.

The testing schedule is available on HSMSE’s school calendar, accessible through the school’s website. When checking if it is an A or B Day, students will see two numbers following the day – “A-Day (2,6)” – indicating which class periods may have assessments.

The testing schedule was originally introduced after Dr. Bonds became principal, as “a tool for communication.” Ms. Hesseltine explains that the testing schedule is meant to be for “communication [that] is built into the planning of a school semester, or month, or week.”

When asked what the impetus may have been for devising the testing schedule, Ms. Hesseltine shared that it was in response to “students [feeling] beleaguered by taking too many tests in one day.”

Testing can cause test anxiety, as researchers at Brown University found: “a type of state anxiety … specific to testing situations that impacts a student’s performance on the test, thus inhibiting the test score as an accurate reflection of academic knowledge and skill” (Brown, 2019). Some researchers have found that testing, specifically on a state level, measures “mostly lower-level thinking” – memorization, understanding, or application (Neill, 2003). Instead, teachers and schools should be assessing higher order thinking, like analyzing, evaluating, and creating – things that examinations often don’t even assess. This is something that the testing schedule addresses: providing the time to evaluate higher order thinking.

If the testing schedule were to evolve to further support higher order thinking, electives perhaps could also be included, instead of just the four main classes. Some electives are very academic, and will have examinations that require much preparation. Having select days that electives could give assessments could further bolster students as they progress through their high school career within HSMSE.

HSMSE’s testing schedule is unique and does not seem to be in place in other schools. There could be favorable results if it was implemented into other institutions, as it was shepherded in by HSMSE’s students. They, along with support from their peers and parents, seemed to be the driving force behind the execution of the testing schedule, something that should only support HSMSE for the better.

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