Abolish the Chemistry Quizzing System


Eitan Goldberg '22

Ramaz students posing in the Chemistry lab with a periodic table.

Sarah Silverman '24

Ramaz students’ lives and academics can be summed up into one word: busy. We are busy people, who have tons of clubs piled onto our abundance of homework. And due to this overload, we tend to focus our studying time on impending tests and homework. I think I speak on behalf of all students in saying that after an exam in a class, we may space out and prioritize other work. Especially since we will not be tested on the material in that said class until a later date.

If I have math right before a Talmud test, you best believe that the equations on the board are not full frontal in my mind. And this is ok, as long as I catch up, by reviewing the material at a later date or going to clinic there is no problem with a little spacing out. In fact, it can help solve overload and give a student a clear head before walking into a test. What I believe is unfair is the next day, the math teacher giving a pop quiz on the material. Assigned test times provide students with a window period where they can meet with a teacher and go over material. How is a struggling student supposed to know when they have to understand the material if they are not told? They can’t, and this provides an unfair advantage to those who grasp concepts quickly.

For example, let’s take two students, student A who does not require outside assistance and student B who does. Both, in a normal testing system would receive an A. While student A only has to go to class and understands the material instantly, Student B has to meet with their teacher, go to clinic every week and study in their free time. Concepts don’t come quickly to them but they are passionate about the subject and want to receive a good grade. In the Chemistry system, student B would do worse, since they would have no grasp of when they would be tested and time to plan and since there is no clinic every day, would be unable to get help in due time, in addition to the fact that Chemistry is not their only class and has other subjects with tests on the horizon. Now one might argue that student B does not deserve to be in the class; if they can’t understand the material when it’s taught maybe they shouldn’t be at that level. Well, I think that’s unfair, not every student is Einstein and those with learning disabilities are hit hardest by this system.  We all have our good days and bad. Maybe during Friday class last period  a kid  is thinking about their weekend plans. We should not be expected to be 100 percent all the time. We are not robots. 

The purpose of high school is to prepare us for college. The chemistry grading system, which consists of random pop quizzes judging us on our knowledge on a day to day basis, is not used by any major university and no other classes at Ramaz. Having this system in a science class, which is part of our GPA and significant for college admissions, is not beneficial for the students it’s trying to help. If the Ramaz administration wants to use this technique then it should be implemented in ALL classes. Then, students wouldn’t have to juggle tremendous loads of information for a test with reviewing every night for chemistry. It would just be a daily quiz system, which I agree would be beneficial to students’ stress. But until then, keep the regular system. If it’s not broken don’t fix it. And deciding to choose one of the most important classes to experiment with is a recipe for disaster.