All too frequently, students find themselves suddenly swamped with tests on one day—a common phenomenon that can lead to some serious crunching the night before. This is why, unbeknownst to many students, Carmel Unified School District has a department testing schedule in place, which allocates certain days for specific classes to test on, and has been adhered to relatively well by CHS teachers.
This schedule stipulates that English, PE and VAPA test on Monday; math and world languages test on Tuesdays; science and social studies test on Fridays; and any of the above departments may test on block days.
However, many students are either completely unaware of the testing schedule’s existence or are unsatisfied with its current lack of influence on the number of tests they have to deal with on a day-to-day basis.
“I feel like a lot of the teachers don’t follow [the schedule],” senior David Kizilkaya remarks. “Junior year, you got to struggle with a lot of tests on one day, especially Fridays. Fridays are pretty tough, I think. That’s what a lot of people complain about.”
Many students share the view that teachers are especially unjust on Fridays, including sophomore Henry Kou, who feels that Thursday is a “crunch day” when it comes to studying for quizzes and exams the next day.
However, most teachers feel like the testing schedule is faithfully followed by the majority of CHS teachers.
“Most of the time, I think that my department does a good job at sticking with it,” says English department co-chair Whitney Grummon, a strict adherent to the schedule herself.
World language department chair Suzanne Marden also believes that it is important to follow the schedule and thinks that other teachers feel the same way.
“I follow this faithfully because I truly believe in the ‘why’ for having particular test days,” Marden says. “I believe…that all world language teachers follow the ‘rules.’”
Much of the confusion arises from the shaky distinction between what’s a test or a quiz. After all, teachers are allowed to give quizzes whenever they want.
“From what I understand, a quiz needs to be on average about 15 minutes,” says math department chair Steve Nacht.
English department co-chair Barbara Steinberg adds, “You should not have had to do any additional preparation for them. A test is something that takes half to all of the period, something you would have had to study for the night before.”
Still, some students, like Kou, are also studying for quizzes the night before, so even having a lot of little quizzes on one day can still be stressful. And, as sophomore Dalton Han Pham remarks, “It’s based on [the teachers’] opinion of what’s a little quiz.”
Even though many students share these complaints, these are students who have never experienced what it was like before the testing schedule, the history of which goes more than a few years back in Carmel High’s history.
Steinberg, who was the coordinator of the 2007 committee that founded it, elaborates on its creation.
“It was one of the action plans … that came out of those discussions when we were looking at our school and how to be more effective, and one thing that came up was, specifically for AP and Honors students, that they were getting just so loaded down with tests all on Fridays or all on the same day.”
While finding a perfect system without flaws is not easy, Steinberg is happy with the improvement the testing schedule has had overall since its establishment.
“We have had significantly fewer complaints since we put the testing schedule in, so I’d say in general, yes, people are happy with the way it’s working.”