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Italian teachers take a step toward no midterm testing


By Bailey Blaikie ’19

Imagine walking into the classroom during midterms and not having to worry about a 200 point test. This year, that is the case for many classes, including Italian.

There are multiple teachers who assigned a project instead of giving a test. Mrs. D’Amore and Mrs. Noonan’s Italian classes have even taken out the midterm grade entirely. The classes work on projects, but they don’t count as a midterm. “We like to concentrate on speaking in our class with the idea that students are taking Italian because they want to go to Italy and speak to people,” D’Amore said.

Students in D’Amore and Noonan’s classes work on project based assessments throughout the year, so they decided to continue this instead of giving a test.

Samantha Pacilio ’19, a member of D’Amore’s class, enjoys not having a test because she gets to display what she learned instead of just studying for the test. “It’s more effective because you work on really applying what you’ve learned over the semester.”

D’Amore and Noonan are not the only teachers who have taken this step; some English and Science classes are also partaking.

Abby Greenblatt ’18 does not have the stress of having to prepare for midterm tests. “Having a project is definitely less stressful,” Greenblatt said. “You have more time to prepare and work with the teacher to get help and advice.”

Some teachers prefer to give projects over tests because they believe it will help them learn more in the long run. “Students are learning how to take high-stakes-tests, but cannot demonstrate subject mastery when tested in a different format,” Daniel Koretz said in his book Measuring up: What educational testing really tells us.

There are many students who benefit from the switch from tests to projects. For students who might not test as well, the elimination of tests relives a lot of their stress. “I would love it if all classes did [projects] this year because I’m not a good test taker,” Maisie Prince ’20 said. “I think it would feel less stressful to do a project then studying for a six page test.” Prince is not alone, with other students also claiming to be poor test takers.

However, some students believe that preparing and putting together a presentation can often be as stressful as it would be to study for a test. “I do like having a project instead of a written test, but there is still a lot you have to do,” Eli Corenthal ’19 said.

The initiative the Italian teachers are taking in order to move away from tests is something many students are benefiting from while others prefer to take a test. “I don’t want to say one is better over the other for everybody because every subject is different,” D’Amore said. “I think for [the Italian program] though, and what we’re doing, in our program, it makes the most sense and it goes with our teaching philosophy.”

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