For the last six years, Baylor has had final exams, but no midterms. With the reinstatement of winter exams this year, both students and teachers have experienced a range of emotions.
Senior Sarah Miller has experienced positive and negative feelings towards exams. “If you asked me a month ago, along with many of my classmates, I probably would have responded with every argument that winter exams are unnecessary," she said. "But now, I think that it is important that Baylor is finally having midterm exams because it is a college preparatory school, and in college we will have to learn to handle midterms. However I feel like some classes, such as APs, are not designed to have midterm exams.”
For most classes in the past, there would be some big test at the end of the semester that would act as an exam, but, unfortunately for many students, these tests would all fall on the same day. Because of this fact, in many ways it is helpful that there are, instead, official exams with their own designated times and days.
David Padilla, Head of Upper School why Baylor decided to reinstate midterms, explained that it is "irresponsible to not to have cumulative assessments when we are a college preparatory school," adding, "it is also important for students to reflect on what they have learned over the first semester.”
The students obviously have very strong opinions on exams, but how do teachers feel about them? English teacher Tim Laramore says he is “excited" that his students "will have an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and improve their grades.” Padilla is an administrator, but he is also an English teacher who has had to write exams for his own class. “Like most faculty at Baylor, writing an exam is the same whether it is in the spring or the fall, so I have noticed no difference. I have been at Baylor for 18 years, and we gave exams for the first 12 years I was here, so I have given more exams than I have not.”
The main opinion of the leaders of Baylor seems to be that although exams may seem like a burden now, ultimately, they are necessary. Nearly every other high school in the country has winter exams, so why should Baylor be any exception? In the words of Padilla, "we are trying to help students be ready for college.”