“I work hard due to the fact that I want to help my family, because I’ve seen them go through a lot. My parents are always worrying about money and I want to be able to provide that for them. I just want to be successful in general,” said Ni Pham (12). Pham is currently going through the IB program in order to obtain the medal and diploma. “When my parents came here, they basically had nothing.” However, changing how much exams are worth can make it more challenging for Pham to succeed.
In today’s society in order to succeed, a college diploma is highly recommended, but a high school diploma is a necessity. This, however, can become quite difficult when the educational system decides to make things even harder for students.
“There has been a proposal by teachers at Central and at Northern to take a look at breakdown for semester grades. What we are looking at are some adaptations to make exams 20% of the final grade instead of what it’s at right now; 14%,” said Principal Jim French.
This decision is, to say the least, quite controversial. For some, exams are stressful enough as is, and trying to balance school, sports, work, and a social life is already a nightmare. “Some people have test anxiety and just because you don’t do well on one test it is not a good indicator on how well you are able to take in information,” Amelia Hansen (10).
Proponents of the increase disagree, “It’s going to make kids care more about exams, because they don’t really change your grade so people don’t really care,” Jacqueline Pattison (11).
Mr. Eustice, a math teacher at Portage Northern, explained the importance of making exams have weight more. “The way the system is setup right now, the final exam, if [students] do well on exam, won’t help them move up, say a third of a grade. From an A to and A-, from a B to a B+, or from a C to a C+. Students that have grades that are differing, the final exam can help them get a better grade than being stuck with a lower one. So having a larger weight on the final exam, will help more kids move their grade up if they do well on the final exam, or it could go down. [However], the problem is a lot of kids know what they got already so they’re like then why do I do well on the final exam, it’s not gonna help me.”
“Although I studied a lot for the ACT, I only got an ‘okay’ score. And I think that those scores make people feel stupid because society bases knowledge on a simple number that categorizes people,” said Pham. Maybe this issue is just touching the surface to a much bigger problem; The way our society has decided to evaluate people. “People are more than just numbers,” finished Pham.