For educators and students, the coinciding of the holiday break and the end of the semester is tricky business that brings up what feels like an age-old question:
Should students take exams before the break or after?
As Beth Bales points out in , most college students take their finals before the holiday, while most high school and middle school students take them sometime in January. As far as we're aware, schools in all Tri-Cities districts generally wait until after break.
As Beth notes, there are reasons for the exams scheduling that have to do with the number of days in a semester and when final test scores have to be posted.
From a sheer school/work/life-balance perspective, there are pros and cons to this before-or-after question, as well.
For students and parents, it can be a giant pain to study and prepare for exams during the holidays, causing stress and putting a damper on the merriment. A lot of families travel over the school break, making the study duty especially onerous and difficult.
On the flip side, the days and weeks before the holidays already are full and stressful, without the addition of final exams. Holiday concerts and athletic events, holiday parties, holiday volunteer work, holiday shopping—the whole nine yards.
"After" also gives students additional time to prepare for exams—and full days off school in which to do it. And some parents will say, the kids get bored over break and benefit by the little discipline of studying.
From teachers' and administrators' points of view, many of the same arguments apply.
Having finals before break would make that pre-Christmas season more stressful. A big chunk of curriculum still would have to be covered after the break and before the end of the semester—which likely would have to be measured via yet another test that's factored into the final grade.
And it probably would end up that teachers would be taking their holiday break time to grade final exams and essays.
In fact, it's hard to think of any advantage for teachers if they were to give final exams before break. Maybe that's one good reason the tradition contiinues.
What do you think? Should students take their exams before the holidays, as college students do?
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