For two years now, the West Windsor-Plainsboro regional school district has implemented the infamous three-part midterm. Despite the notable effort given by administrators on its creation, this new midterm system has failed to fully encompass the 21st Century Competencies, provoking objections from teachers and students alike.
“There just aren’t enough tests,” one student complained. “How are my teachers going to understand just how self-directed I am if they’re only assessing me three times?” Without enough test data, teachers cannot accurately evaluate the extent to which their students have embraced the Competencies.
In response to these complaints, WW-P administration has devised a new system to meet district standards and assuage widespread concerns. Enter the Twelve-Part Midterm.
Composed of twelve asessments scattered between October and May, this new test is the first of its kind to fully satisfy the district’s expectations. Though some details have yet to be released, administrators say that it will not merely touch upon, but fully reflect the 21st Century Competencies by devoting two full tests to each of the six.
For example, rather than simply working on a group presentation, students will be assessed on their ability to collaborate in foreign language classes by being placed in groups with students studying other languages, and they will not be permitted to use English to communicate. In another sample test scenario, students will not be handed a test on paper but will be excepted to use their own self-direction to discover what the test is. These examples are only a preview of the ingenious testing approach that will soon grace our district.
Furthermore, the new midterm is scheduled to take place during approximately 90 percent of the school year from start to finish. This increased timespan allows the exam to be more comprehensive. It also allows teachers to fully assesses the students’ knowledge of the material being taught throughout the year, unlike a conventional midterm which—astonishing as it may be—tests students just once, in the middle of the year.
WW-P residents have responded positively to the changes, with parents and students satisfied that the new test will be fair and thorough. One parent said, “We had begun to lose faith in the WW-P education system. Its lack of rigor was simply appalling. These tests are just what the district needs.”