INSIGHT: Final Exam Week

by Dr. John Stegeman (US Head) and Sarah Peeden (MS Head)

Middle School Concluding Sessions

During the exam period, Middle School students will follow the same schedule as their Upper School counterparts. If students are in upper-level math or Spanish courses, as is sometimes the case in seventh and eighth grades, they will be expected to sit for exams with their classmates. In trimester classes, such as those offered in PE, Fine and Performing Arts, Technology or Environmental Practices, students may have “Concluding Sessions” in which they are expected to present or perform as a culminating Major Assessment (MA). In yearlong courses, teachers may also harness the longer class periods for presentations of learning or forms of study that the regular day-to-day schedule doesn’t often allow. Ultimately, “Concluding Sessions” in the Middle School are distinguished from the Upper School’s finals in terms of format and weight, though they still harness the gift of instructional time offered by the change in schedule.

Upper School Finals

In the Upper School, students and teachers conclude each trimester with some kind of summative assessment, in both trimester- and year-long courses. To facilitate this deep thinking and engagement, we create a special schedule with longer periods for the final three days of the term. The two regular class days preceding those are dedicated to review and preparation. In the spirit of tradition, we refer to these culminating experiences as “finals,” and although some teachers do give a “final exam” in that time, many classes conclude with presentations, longer writing assignments, or projects of both the individual and group variety. The common thread, and indeed the purpose and educational value of these exercises, is to create time and space for students to synthesized and demonstrate their learning.