This year, seniors did not receive a set test schedule at the beginning of the quarter. Instead, as the year went on, teachers would periodically announce, “We need to have a test next week. What day works for you?”
Now, on the one hand, this is every underclassman’s dream. I can’t even count the number of times we complained about a biology test being on the same day as a vocab quiz, or a history essay due only a day before a Talmud exam. Often, the test schedule seemed like it was being put together by robots who didn’t have much regard for the students’ emotional wellbeing, and the poor class presidents would take the brunt of the ire for not being able to effect change.
So you’d think the “Make Your Own Test Schedule” system would be a blessing. Instead, it’s proved to be something of a nuisance. Teachers often won’t tell us they want an exam or paper to be due until a week before they need to schedule it. “I need to give you a grade before the quarter ends,” one of my teachers explained. This creates a phenomenon I like to think of as the “Circle of Death,” where seniors go weeks without no work at all, and then get hit over the head with five tests or quizzes in a row. Wring out; repeat.
The fact that students are all in different classes also makes scheduling these tests tedious and very, very difficult. “Can’t be Monday–I have Psych,” “Not Tuesday…Honors Talmud has a paper,” “I have an Astro quiz on Wednesday,” and so on and so forth. These debates don’t always stay civil, as teachers who allow the students to settle a date among themselves often miss the contentious back-and-forths on the class group chat that night. One “Age of Reagan” test date ended up requiring a poll and more than 500 angry text messages to settle. Students have bullied one another for choosing certain sides or dates, and the class is torn up over what day it should pick.
There must be an ideal system, where it isn’t entirely up to the students or a scheduling system which doesn’t consult them at all. Maybe the students should vote on set schedules, like finals week. Maybe all the classes in a certain band should be required to give their tests on the same day, so it makes it easier for students to coordinate free days. Either way, the current system isn’t the answer.