Houston Water Shut-Down Woes

After the city of Houston’s water supply was deemed unsafe to drink, HISD and many other schools including St. Thomas were forced to close on Monday much to the joy of the Student body. Some students, however, were not as happy as others to learn that all of their tests scheduled for Monday got moved to a day where they already had other tests, swamping them with assessments. St. Thomas and its teachers need to do a better job of postponing or moving tests scheduled for a day that got canceled.

Usually, teachers are not allowed to assign a test if it would make students have more than three major grades in a day. Why do we make an exception for cancellations? Teachers can see other tests scheduled on the calendar, and must schedule theirs so that students are not overwhelmed by assessments and seminars, but when a school day is canceled teachers no longer regard the calendar and move their test to the next available day, even though he student may have other tests already scheduled for that day. This means that some students have more than three tests in a day, breaking this rule. Matthew Michael, for example, had 4 tests on Tuesday, November 29th. In A he had a Spanish test, in B he had an English seminar, in C he had an assessment for his music class, and by the end of the day in D he had a Chemistry test. “I definitely screwed up my chem grade because my brain was….dead.” Said Matthew ‘25.

This is unfair to students as well because in many cases, there’s no way to recover or improve the grade that would have been better if it was the only test they were taking that day. As stated before, Matthew feels he could have performed better had he been taking only the chem test, or the chem test and one other. But after a full day of test-taking, Matthew was in suboptimal condition to take a chemistry test. This means that his grade will suffer, and maybe even make the difference between an A and a B in the class, having permanent ramifications on his GPA. “I have a 91.83 in the class” said Matthew “and I think I got like an 80, it might lower my grade to a B.” 

Swamping students with assessments can also increase stress and deprive them of sleep, negatively affecting their health, mentally and physically. It can cause students to perform poorly academically and athletically. This is why we need to implement a new system of scheduling tests. Matthew suggests that it should be handled the same way that you would reschedule a test when you are sick or on college visit; each student talks or emails their teacher and works out a date that works for both of them, or the teacher offers multiple dates the students can come in to take the test on, and you choose from whichever one works best for you. Some would say that this can burden the teachers who would have to administer multiple tests, especially if they teach multiple classes, but another solution could be that one teacher administers multiple tests in the same room to make it so that less teachers have to take free time out of their day for these tests. 

In short, the current system of test rescheduling is efficient, and can burden students with way too much work, which negatively affects their performance. I propose a system that is personalized for each student, and allows them to make up all of their tests without being overwhelmed with more than three in a day. This will relieve stress and increase their performance on these assessments.