Wilton High School Reinvents Midterms and Finals


Penn State Beaver

Wilton High School alters its testing system for the upcoming years.

Last year, Wilton High School made the executive decision to cancel midterms and finals due to Covid-19 and the negative effect it has had on students’ education. However, this school year is a little different. One of the consistent things with this and last year is there are still no midterms and finals. Not because of covid, but because Wilton, and surrounding towns, are adopting a new type of way to assess students.

At the beginning of the year, It wasn’t clear if the exams were fully canceled, or whether they would be held in a different format. In general, the initial thought of most WHS students about the thought of finals and midterms being canceled, were met with a sense of relief. 

“I’m glad that the exams were canceled,” Shultz said. “The tests coming up are nerve-wracking.”

Many students also find that canceling them relieves a lot of stress. 

“At the end of the year we didn’t know what was to come because we have never experienced midterms and finals before,” Shultz said.

Later, she and others have raised concerns, especially within the freshman 2025 class, about how this will affect us later in college. Shultz and Charlotte Mickelborough, another WHS freshman, agree that this may affect them in the future.

“It’s still going to hurt in the future because (we’re) not going to have the same experiences as other people who are in the field currently and who have had midterms and finals in high school,” Mickelborough said. 

Robert O’Donnell, the WHS principal, confirmed that the tests weren’t entirely canceled, but teachers had more flexibility. Whether that means not to hold a midterm at all, or just have a larger test or quiz.

“Teachers are allowed to use more of a  summative assessment format to test students rather than a paper and pencil test,” O’Donnell said. 

He mentioned that this whole new way of testing kids stems from the newly adapted block schedule: there are 86 minute classes and only four classes a day.

“This gives time for extra instructional learning and tests planned according to the needs of the students, teachers, and the teachers’ curriculum plan,” O’Donnell said. 

The main purpose of loosening the strings on midterms and finals was to test kids in a different format, if at all.

“Teachers can just do them at a different time and they can do it based on the readiness of their particular group of kids when they’re ready,” O’Donnell said. 

The pressure of getting those good grades will be lifted off of the shoulders of the students. The students will be able to still be assessed with what they have been learning at the same level students usually would if it were 2 years ago. Something as simple as the format will help ease the pressure off of the students. 

Overall, think of it this way: For a biology midterm two years ago, students would have had to study for hours on end and memorize facts from study guides and resources they were given. To demonstrate and apply what they have learned they had to sit down and take a 100 question test on the cellular structure and the functions over the course of a couple of hours. Using the same study guide and resources this year, students are allowed to make a slide presentation or even a colorful poster to apply what they have learned.