Photo by Emily Shen
On October 20th, 2016, the Mamaroneck High School Student Faculty Advisory Council (SFAC) voted to pass their first piece of legislation, a pilot bill that will limit tests and in class essays for students to two per day.
During the 2015-2016 school year, SFAC conducted a survey, polling students about their concerns with MHS. One major point that was raised by the survey was the fact that many students were being swamped with tests, quizzes and projects during the final days of the first and third marking period. Some students have as many as four tests on one day. After the results of the survey were analysed, a sub committee of teachers and students was made up to discuss possible solutions to this testing problem.
After multiple meetings of the subcommittee, a testing schedule for the final two day rotations of the first and third quarters was deemed the most appropriate option. The schedule proceeds as follows: for the last two Day 1 and 2’s of the quarter, Science and World Language teachers are allowed to give tests. For the last two Day 3 and 4’s of the quarter, Math/Technology and History teachers are allowed to give tests. English teachers are allotted Days 2 and 3 for their in class assessments, such as in class essays, but at-home essays are exempt from this bill. This format allows teachers to give tests to all of their sections without the fear of having many days in between different sections taking it while making sure students never truly have more than two or three tests in one day.
A second aspect of the bill that will go into effect is a master testing schedule for each grade, using Google Sheets, for teachers to get a glimpse at which allotted days would be better for them to administer their exams. The master schedule will be used as a guide for teachers, but ultimately, the final decision about testing dates is up to the professional judgement of the teacher.
The bill was taken to teachers from around the school for further investigation. Using the feedback from the teachers, the sub-committee revised the plan and presented it at the June 2015 full committee meeting. Debate over the structure of the bill was discussed, and a more formal presentation of the bill was presented at the October 2016 meeting. After more conversations over the bill, the larger committee voted to pass the bill on a pilot program for the first quarter of the 2016-2017 school year. The pilot will cover a shorter timespan than the original bill outlined: only the last four d a y s of the quarter.
After the bill is piloted, the committee will reconvene and conduct an investigation into the success of the bill. Once the investigation has been conducted, SFAC will reevaluate the effect of the bill and make a final decision about its full implementation.
By Jeremy Hoffner