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Making Midterms
Harry Niles '21 Associate Editor
November 8, 2019

It’s 2:00 pm on a Wednesday. The dreaded moment has finally arrived. You receive an email titled “DAinfo” and immediately know what awaits. You and all those around you begin to frantically open your DAinfo accounts.

Midterms is one of the largest stressors for Deerfield Students. We all want to be at the top of our class and want to know how we can do so, but midterms give students no explanation on how they can improve themselves. We receive no feedback on how to better ourselves, and instead just receive a number with no comments attached. Right now, Deerfield uses midterms to show students how they are faring in their classes, but how can we as students improve ourselves if we have no idea what we need to improve upon?

A midterm grade is just a number. It gives a student no guidance or direction for the future, instead creating unneeded stress for a student. There is no way a student can see their midterm score and immediately know how to improve themselves in the classroom. This lack of guidance is what causes the stress. By having no understanding of how to improve, Deerfield students continue to use the same study habits. There are no improvements made for the future because we don’t know what to fix. Currently, midterms give us no direction or structure. We need help to improve ourselves, not just a number that doesn’t tell us anything but a grade.

Deerfield should consider a new system to share a student’s progress in their classes. Instead of receiving solely a grade, Deerfield students should have a day where they meet with their teachers and are given feedback — thus, students can have meaningful one-on-one conversation with their teachers to improve themselves. Students could also be able to request grades if they wish to hear their numerical progress/standing in a class.

Rather than just receiving a grade on their current progress, I want students to have a more hands-on approach for their midterms, one that uses feedback that requires students to take initiative in their own learning. This would then allow students to improve their grades and participation within the classroom. These proposed conversations between teachers and students would allow students to recognize their strengths and weaknesses and figure out how to develop and refine their skills.

All of us want to improve our grades, and, currently, we don’t have enough guidance on how we can do so. Deerfield has an opportunity to create a system where students can really learn from their mistakes. Midterms should be more than just a number on the DAInfo screen.