The debut year of RQA (Required Quarterly Assessments) has come and gone, and after the first year there is speculation that the old exam and grading system will return.
RQAs have changed the grading policy, no longer requiring students to take an end of semester exam that determines their semester grade. The RQA was put in place for more instructional time and less testing. But as a result students have testing days for classes four days a semester, totaling over the two hours an exam in that place would take.
The new policy allows for students to benefit if their grades are different for the quarter, always receiving the higher grade no matter the subject. This allows students to only work for the grades they want for a quarter, and then they can slack off the next quarter.
With the absence of exams, it has become much easier to get higher grades, and students now have to do less work for their grades then prior to exams being removed. “The new grading policy indirectly allows students to only try for a quarter, rather than the whole semester,” sophomore Hunter Band said.
The favorite part about exams was the week that came with it. This week allowed students to decompress from a stressful time, and enabled them to maximize their studying hours because students were not required to go to classes that they didn’t have exams in. Only being required to go to school for periods that you had exams, then being able to leave was seen as one of the best weeks throughout the school year. “Exam week was the best because I only had to go to school at times during the week, allowing me to sleep in most days,” junior Lindsey Grinspoon said.
Although exams caused stress for students, they better prepared them for college. The school system stopped giving exams to students, but colleges did not. With the absence of exams the freshman class will be going into college having never taken an exam. Exams increase a student’s ability to be prepared for college life. Without them kids will be showing up for their first day inexperienced and a step behind. “I’m worried that without exams when I get to college I’ll be a step behind the rest of the students because the majority of counties and states still take semester, and end of the year exams,” sophomore Eric Quam said.
MCPS should bring exams back. The exams give students a peek at what college classes will be like. It is vital that students begin good study habits for exams early, and without semester exams they will not get experience. By not having exams the students are at a disadvantage because they are not being judged the same way that other school systems are. Exams were a way for students to compare grades with other counties, and also help students better prepare themselves for college.