Exam days get a makeover

Vicky Tarakanova, Contributing Editor

A new schedule for the end-of-term exam days consisting of all four classes and following a regular school day schedule was implemented for Brookfield Central this year by the school administration, primarily due to the past year’s failure to meet the number of school year minutes required by the state.
Both exam days at the culmination of terms two and four will now be full-length days of school, starting at 7:55 a.m. and ending at 3:09 p.m. Examination days for terms one and three, however, will keep half-day schedules as in previous years.
“The basis is that as a district we did not have enough minutes in our overall high school year,” said Mr. Brett Gruetzmacher, Brookfield Central’s principal. “The state mandates a certain number of minutes, and we were short some. We were able to keep the half days at the end of terms one and three but then [exams] are full days at the end of terms two and four.”
Likewise, BEHS will take part in the new exam day schedule. “We could have added six or seven minutes to the school day or do what we did here. East was in the same boat, so we worked on that together,” said Gruetzmacher.
A survey conducted by the school administration reported that only six out of every ten Brookfield Central teachers are giving cumulative exams measuring an entire term’s worth of content. These results are also a contributing factor towards the schedule change. One new class, English 11, consists of several summative assignments like a research paper rather than a final multiple choice exam.
“[The new schedule] recognizes that more and more teachers are not giving traditional exams; they’re giving presentations, they’re using it as a normal day, and that’s really where I want things to be going,” said Gruetzmacher. Although summative exams will still exist, teachers now have flexibility to offer different kinds of final projects or no final exam at all.
Many schools are moving away from traditional exams and to schedules like BC’s. “It’s not something that’s really unique and new to Central,” said Principal Gruetzmacher. “For example, Indiana outlawed half days. I lived through the traditional exams, and I also know that in colleges, the traditional exams are becoming less and less as well. [They are] becoming more project based and things of that nature.”
This second and fourth term change from traditional exam days, in which students would be dismissed around 11:14 a.m and able to study for the next day’s tests, has worried and frustrated some students. Sabrina Wang (‘15) said, “I don’t think it’s fair that we need to learn new material on the same day we take final exams. Even if it were a review day in class, most of us would to be too exhausted to focus.”