Petition To Change High School Exam Schedule

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     With all due respect to the Universal American School's administrators, the recent change in the high school exam schedule unfairly, negatively, and detrimentally affects both students and staff. In this petition, we, the high school students of UAS, ask that if the schedule will not be changed back to its original dates, then it be changed to the following:

Wednesday, January 8th 2020: Islamic Religion

Thursday, January 9th 2020: Holy Quran

Sunday, January 12th 2020: Block 1

Monday, January 13th 2020: Block 2

Tuesday, January 14th 2020: Block 3

Wednesday, January 15th 2020: Block 4

Thursday, January 16th 2020: Make-up exams

Sunday, January 19th 2020: Semester 2 begins

 

     We ask that the exam schedule be returned to its original dates, or that it be changed to the schedule suggested above for multiple reasons:

 

I: Loss of time

     The recent change in the exam schedule means that teachers will have to rush to finish their lesson plans before the exam dates, then rush to grade the exams in time for progress reports. This also means that students will not have sufficient time to learn the required material for the final exams.

 

II: Stressful to students

     Exams are already stressful enough, but with the new schedule students now have to worry about six exams over four consecutive school days. This will be especially significant to students taking AP courses that the school encourages them to take since they have a more difficult curriculum with more to cover in a short amount of time.

 

III: Stressful to teachers

     Teachers will not only have to pack cram long lessons into the few days before exams begin, but they will also have to hasten their grading of the exams themselves in order to meet the deadline to submit grades for report cards. This, in turn, will cause more stress on the students in literally every possible way since all classes will be affected by this rush to compete lesson plans and grade exams. Not to mention, the week before exams is infamously dubbed “Dead Week” due to the fact that it is extremely stressful with multiple chapter reviews in every subject in order to prepare for exams; removing the time we have on Sunday and Monday and having the more lessons compressed into a short amount of time will only make Dead Week even more pressuring.


IV: Unnecessary change to a customary schedule

     High school students, especially juniors and seniors, have been accustomed to the original exam schedule (with exams on Tuesday and Wednesday) for a long time, and drastically changing the usual schedule will lead to stress and the creation of a larger issue than that of students staying at home two days before their exams to study. Because a minority of high school students choose to study at home, the majority is left with a new stressful schedule that affects students and staff negatively. Both issues could easily be solved with the schedule suggested above, giving students sufficient time to study and teachers sufficient time to grade without the issue of students staying home. Additionally, it must be said that students did not use stay home on Sunday and Monday for their own pleasure - rather, they did it because each student has his/her own method of learning, and while some students gain from the teachers’ tips and guidance on the review days, others find it more useful and effective to review the source material on their own, which is why they choose to stay home. Also, the week after dead week is already set aside for exams, so having one exam a day (or the original schedule) cannot be considered a waste of class time, since both students and teachers are in the mentality of exam-taking / grading. Starting the new semester on the same week as exams is mentally taxing, while starting it on a new week would give both students and teachers a fresh start and a more hopeful outlook about the new semester.


V: Decreased performance level

    With more time to study, students should be able to get higher grades. Having exams directly after winter break will not only defeat the purpose of having a break, but will render it useless as many students will be cooped up in their houses studying for exams on New Year's day. Morale will decrease, depleting students of their motivation only in the middle of the school year. 

 


     It should be mentioned that on the school’s official website, a message from the high school principal himself states that “[a] successful and rewarding high school experience requires the collaboration of all of us-school, parents, and students-and we welcome your active participation in your child’s high school experience.” We, as concerned students and parents, ask the administration to collaborate with us in order to provide us with a feasible schedule in a stress-managed environment that helps us grow as students, and later as productive members of society.

     Although the recent change in the schedule may have been made in the interest of the students, students’ opinions should be taken into consideration since this change will impact them the most. We understand that the purpose of the change is to prevent student absences prior to the exams, but with the solution presented by the superintendent, absences are still possible. There are better ways to respond to the decreased attendance rate leading up to exams than changing an already stressful schedule to an even more taxing one. The exam schedule suggested above provides less possibility for absences because students will have more time to study during the week, which will decrease stress and therefore increase the attendance rate.