There are few things that strike fear into the hearts of college students. We're a resilient bunch, able to brave things like eating ramen noodles for days and trudging through a class where attendance is mandatory with only three hours of sleep. We put it with a lot. But there are few things that terrify us more than the dreaded...midterms. *queue dramatic music*
Perhaps even more than finals themselves, midterms are almost universally loathed among the college populace. They're here before we know what hit us and after we're able to withdraw without being penalized, oftentimes forcing us to scramble back and relearn six or more weeks' worth of material in a much shorter timeframe. And given how little time many of us have anyway between classes, other homework, and trying to take care of ourselves, it's a wonder we even manage to pass at all. Our sanity may be temporarily skewed, but at least we passed, right?
This is a true story: last semester, our school finally embraced the semester system and ditched the then-standard quarter system. Me, thinking that an extra six or seven weeks would be welcome, foolishly enrolled in Precalculus, Chemistry, Linguistics, and Biology classes. What I didn't realize was that the semester system now allowed for all science-related classes to have three separate midterms apiece. Meaning that between four classes, I took twelve midterms. Throw in finals, and I came up with a total of sixteen tests, which averages out to about one major test a week. It was a rough semester.
And though my frustration may be apparent by my choice vocabulary, it's not all terrible. Many of us acknowledge that tests are necessary in order to assess how far we've progressed in a certain class. That's all well and good, but it's just the sheer number and volume of them that irks me. Just this semester I had three midterms in two days, and I'm prepping to have two more soon.
My point through all of this is to ask if it's really necessary to have so many tests. For example, in Denmark many schools grade their students via their participation and assignments done in class because it's more up to the students to excel with very few tests administered (source). Here in the U.S., it seems as though the responsibility is placed on the teachers. Hours' worth of homework and tests are administered because participation and in-class assignments count for naught or very little of a student's grade. In all honesty, I would rather have more homework than more tests.
As I've voiced before, I think that the education system here in the U.S. needs to be reformed. This may just seems like the ramblings of an unappreciative college millennial, but I promise there is method in my madness. Really think about how we are educating ourselves, and perhaps you can come to your own conclusions.