What Do You Think About the New Chemistry System?


Eric Kalimi ’22

Last year, the science department decided that sophomore (Class of 2022) chemistry would not have any tests. Instead of tests, students took frequent pop quizzes. Teachers awarded students with a 5, 6, 8, or 10 for each standard won a quiz, based on how well they showed their ability for that specific skill. Sophomores had the opportunity to take “makeup quizzes” for specific standards to help increase standards’ averages. Students’ opinions varied: many were excited and others were upset with the change.

One of the main reasons for creating this system was to help reduce the students’ stress. Caroline Schwartz ’22 believes the system fulfills its purpose; she said that the quizzes were incredibly helpful in reducing the stress that came with the traditional testing system. She said that studying small amounts of material consistently was less stressful than cramming the day before a test. David Gitlemen ‘22 disagrees; he feels that the quizzes greatly increased his stress because he was forced to study every night for another quiz instead of just for one or two days before a test. He also found it incredibly stressful to not know whether he would have a quiz the next day. The chemistry quizzes succeeded to reduce stress for students like Caroline who would rather study small bits every night, but failed for students like David who do not want to worry about another quiz each day and would rather study all at once for a traditional test. 

Another important issue is whether the students felt that the system helped them learn the material and score better. Emily Rosenfeld ‘22 believes that the system forced her to keep up with the information from every class. She felt that the frequent review was extremely beneficial in terms of giving her a genuine understanding of the problems. Joe Kaplan ‘22 brought the other side of the argument by saying that it can be very frustrating to not know when the quizzes are going to be and that since the quizzes are informal it can be hard to focus. When taking a traditional test, it is easier to focus when everyone is silent and working in a testing atmosphere, but since the quizzes were informal, it was much harder to focus. The relative chaos of the quizzes made it significantly more difficult to perform well on assessments. The quizzes were beneficial to the learning of many students, as it forced them to keep up with their material as class went on, but also caused some students to do worse on quizzes because of the lack of a formal testing atmosphere. 

The new chemistry testing system evoked mixed reviews. Although some students felt that it reduced their stress to not have chemistry tests, others felt that it exacerbated it to have so many quizzes so frequently. The science department decided to perform their experiment a second time on the current sophomore grade.