by Jewel Merriman | October 5, 2020
Tests—timed series of questions that demonstrate our understanding of a certain curriculum. Simple enough, right? Well, for a lot of us, test-taking may not be a proper measurement of our understanding, and it can be the root of academic stress or anxiety. This year, St. Francis established a new grading policy that weighs most of our grade on larger assessments and projects and limits credit from homework or other small assignments to only a small percentage of our overall grade.
This may be a big change for a lot of us, both positively and negatively. Now it can be hard to find the motivation to put the appropriate time and effort into our homework assignments because they are worth little to nothing. On the other hand, it reduces the pressure to be accurate in our homework and encourages us to truly challenge ourselves to learn the content. It also allows us to take responsibility for our own learning; if we need the extra practice, we should do the homework, but if we already understand the concept, we can reprioritize. However, because these assignments are worth less this year, there is also more pressure to perform well on assessments and projects. With little homework credit to cushion our grade, the few assessments and projects that we do have this semester have a much larger impact. For those of us who are simply not good test-takers, this will be a difficult challenge to overcome. Despite how many flashcards we write or notes we may take, some of us struggle to succeed in a class where the grade is based purely on test scores. If this applies to you, please consider reaching out to your teachers to discuss extra help or an alternative option.
That being said, some of us are thriving in the virtual school environment. With shorter classes, longer breaks, no commute time, and Fridays off, we have been able to use this extra time to not only get our work done, learn new skills, and participate in more clubs, but also to relax and take a break from our busy schedules.
Overall, it is up to us to decide how we best utilize this virtual setting. It is a huge change that brings about its own set of challenges, but with it comes opportunities for personal growth.