MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 21ST, 2020
In recent years, Palo Alto High School has become subject to an epidemic in which students do not pass classes due to their poor performance on tests. While tests are the best way for students to demonstrate knowledge of subject matter, a student’s performance for an hour and a half should not be able to have such negative effects on a student’s grade. The Campanile believes that students should be allowed the opportunity to retake any test in any non-honors, non-Advanced Placement (AP) course and earn up to a C on the test.

Student in honors and AP courses have opted to take on a much more rigorous workload, and due to the time constraints with regards to the AP tests in May, this system would not be feasible to place in most honors courses. However, students who are in non-honors, non-AP classes have made a conscious choice to learn at the level that best suits them, and should be helped adequately to reach the baseline grade of a C.

By allowing students to retake tests, students could focus on learning, instead of fretting about their grades. With the peace of mind that they will pass the course as long as they try, students will be more willing to buy into teachers’ lectures. The logistics associated with the implementation are relatively simple. Teachers would need to create alternate versions of their tests so that students could not gain on unfair advantage by taking the test again. Students would take the alternate test at the Testing Center.

Although this system requires extra work on the teacher’s end, The Campanile believes that teachers would gladly undergo this endeavor if it would lower students’ anxiety and raise their eagerness to learn.

A counterargument to this idea states that this system would be unfair to students who performed well on the original test. After all, these students put in hard work, but are not receiving opportunities to do better. However, these claims are shortsighted. This system would not diminish the achievements of those who scored highly on the test, but would rather allow others to improve their grade up to a C so that everyone could have a greater understanding of material.

Finally, The Campanile notes the necessity and importance of testing, but recognizes the need for change with regard to the current system in place. Paly should prioritize students’ learning over their archaic systems that result in student stress. And in doing so, not only will students’ grades be safe, but their appreciation for the knowledge that they are receiving will rise.

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