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Not Your Ordinary January

By Asmita Saha

Students throughout New York rejoiced at the news of the canceling of exams. This school year, midterms and January Regents were canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. New Hyde Park Memorial High School cited the early January spike in cases for the cancellation of midterms. Due to the high number of faculty and staff being in quarantine, students experienced a week of remote learning after the holiday recess. The New York State Education Department also stated that the cause of January Regents cancellations was due to the sheer number of COVID-19 cases in late December.

“It [holding midterms] would have helped some and hurt others. The students and families not affected by COVID could have benefited from the formalities of preparing for midterms. It could have caused stress and anxiety for those who had missed extended periods of school time,” math teacher Mr. Romano said.

Although a second cancellation of major exams might seem unnecessary, the pandemic has taken a toll on students’ physical and mental health. Having to deal with COVID incidents while staying on track with schoolwork has dragged many students behind in their curriculum and has left them barely any time to prepare for the upcoming exams. Remote instruction has disrupted the learning experience of many students, as well. From unstable internet to family interruptions, it was difficult for students to focus and for teachers to communicate. Students who learn through contributing and sharing with the class had more trouble learning.

Artwork by Sabeena Ramdarie

Midterms and and Regents were canceled this January, freeing students from having standardized tests right after the holidays.

“I don’t balance exams anymore. Studying during the pandemic meant that most of the tests would be open book, so I lost most of my study habits,” freshman Rachel Jacob said.

However, students have differing opinions on midterms and exams. Some believe that midterms and finals are not beneficial because the information studied for them is forgotten quickly after the exam. Others say that midterms are useful because they help retain information.

“Even with the stress the exam carries, I do think midterms are beneficial to learning. Students are forced to review and study the extensive material that we’ve been learning for the past few months,” sophomore Safiya Hamdani said.

A large majority of teachers will not be administering assessments as well. Instead, they will be using various methods of review to ensure that students are understanding the curriculum. From simply reviewing coursework in class to providing assignments, teachers will review earlier material in some capacity.

“I think it would be wise to hold some form of cumulative review, while throwing in assignments that recall subjects from the entirety of the course. This will help students stay sharp on prior material and better prepare them for the possibility of a June Regents exam. I wouldn't necessarily say this would be in place of the midterm, but it would hopefully accomplish the same goal as getting students to keep themselves familiar with prior material,” science teacher Mr. Yazak said.

As relieved as some students may feel now, the Regents exams are not completely canceled. Currently, the June Regents are still scheduled to be administered.


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