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Midterm Monday

 

The timing of midterms, I believe can make a difference in students scores.  For years, I worked at schools that gave them after the winter break.  This meant coming back from break and trying to get the students prepared for them while teaching new material.  I know date wise midterms fall on the 2nd week in January but it didn't seem like the best time to give them.  

I then switched to a school that gave them before break.  This has its advantages and disadvantages as well.  The upcoming break can leave students unmotivated for them, students may be leaving early to travel, or in rare cases winter comes early and they miss them due to weather.  

The last few years though, I've been at a school that gives them before break but not the last 2-3 day before break.  I think this has lead to the best results.  The midterms are given 3-5 days before the break begins.  This gives students 2-3 days to complete the midterm and then 2-3 days to grade and have fun class activities.  On the teacher side, this give me time to grade the assignments and have no assignments to grade over the break.  On the student side, the students are able to take it over a few days which seems to help reduce the stress levels, they can enjoy the last few days before break which are normally filled with distractions and interruptions, and student's whose families choose to travel early still get the test in before they go.  

Most of the schools I've worked for use them as a data collection point.  If we want to have the most accurate data, then the timing of the test should be considered.  I think giving it in January gives the schools the chance to show the most growth from mid-year to end of the year testing because of the timing of the test.

The question then becomes if you give them 3-5 days before the break, what do you do with the 2-3 days before the break.  I like to use those days as reflection days, activity days, and goal setting days.  The first day, students take a look at what they have accomplished over the quarter and semester.  I have the students create a Canva presentation where they note what they have accomplished, what they want to do to differently moving forward, and a goal they have for 2nd semester.  The next day, we do fun activities.  Currently, my students are very into joke telling, riddles, and books.  We will spend time telling jokes, riddles, and discussing books, which may seem odd for a math class but, student connection is important.  The timing of the midterm really does make a difference for both the students and the teacher.     

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