Double Summative Midterms Should Not Be a Thing


It is the time of year for students all over the world to stay up late into the night studying for one of the most important tests of the year: midterms. Junior, Katie Harrill, uses all the time she can get to study.

Abby Marks, Features Editor

It is hands-down every high school student’s least favorite time of the year: midterm season. Kids everywhere are frantically rummaging through their binders trying to find notes from early August, struggling to remember how to even begin a math problem they nailed two months ago and staying up late to study for arguably the most important test of the year, or at least of the semester. Midterms hold so much weight over each student because, not only are they cumulative, but in non-EOC courses, the test counts as a double summative. This test could ultimately be the defining factor between an A and a B, a B and a C, or even passing and failing. The pressure of trying to end the semester with a good grade is only furthered by the fact that the test is weighted so intensely — even in AP level classes. Obviously midterms are vital to making sure students have mastered the content they have learned throughout the year thus far, but why weigh them so heavily in the grade book?

Students have to cram so much information into their brains throughout the course of the the last four months, so they are definitely bound to forget much of the content they are taught, even if they are provided with a study guide. Students should be given a fair chance to show what they know – or what they do not know – and one failing or passing grade is effective enough. There is not really a need to enter the grade in twice because, at the end of the day, it does not change the fact of whether or not the student knows the information. Not only that, but midterms can oftentimes tank someone’s grade just as much as it could raise it.

When asked, 9 out of 10 students said that midterms typically lowered their course grade. In fact, some AP level classes, such as AP Literature and AP Government, are administering released AP exams for the midterm. This means kids will have to take a test on a course they have only halfway completed and then have that grade count as two summatives. Senior Quillen McKinney, along with many other students, feels like she is bound to fail.

“I always count on midterms to bring up or solidify my grades, but this year two of my midterms are practice AP exams. This makes me nervous because I really want to do well but the exams are super challenging,” McKinney says. She and many others are left to worry about the fate of their grades and GPA after such a difficult test being weighed so heavily.

Cumulative tests are hard enough as they are – not to mention most students have seven classes they have to refresh on and study for. Midterms are important to ensure the understanding of all the material that has been taught thus far, but there is no reason for these hard tests to be worth so much of our grade. I say midterms should just count the same as a normal test, or at least make the weight consistent between each class. One test out of the semester should not be the defining factor of these last 18 weeks.