End of First Quarter – Finals Week


Alina Sanok

Artwork by Alina Sanok, Staff Artist

Ariel Jiang, Staff Member

Time goes by fast. In a blink of an eye, we welcomed our first quarter-finals of the school year. Unlike the previous school years, this year’s quarter-finals are unique: they’re online! Because it is an unprecedented experience, we are curious to know how the students feel about the online quarter-finals. 

The first quarter-final week happens between Monday, October 5, 2020, to Friday, October 9, 2020. The tests will be taken in order with Math and Science on Tuesday, English and World Languages on Wednesday, and Social Science and VAPA on Thursday. During the quarter-final week, the bell schedule will continue to stay the same, and each class period will continue to be 50 minutes. As usual, we all know that there will only be two assigned subjects testing on one specific test day. Which means math will only be tested on Tuesday and will not be tested on Wednesday because English and World Languages are arranged to test on Wednesday. This arrangement gives the students a break to review and limits their stress levels. 

However, the quarter-final week is not only about the quarter-final tests; it is also about submitting late work and sending out a progress report to the families so that the students can keep track of their grades. As usual, the quarter-finals will end on Friday, October 9, 2020, the last day of the quarter, so many teachers warn their students to submit and complete their missing assignments before Friday, October 9, 2020, so that the grades can be uploaded into their grade books. 

Because quarter-finals are less formal than semester finals, many of the classes formatted their finals the same as their usual tests and quizzes, such as Ms. Jessica Vanderbaan’s regular chemistry class and Mr. Joseph Peñafuerte’s honor Algebra II. For them, the only differences are the testing dates and contents of the test. Some teachers will not give out quarter-finals because they do not feel the need to. Some apps the teachers use for testing are Google Forms, Schoology, and Google Docs. Some teachers also prefer hand-writing instead of using the online format. When testing, every teacher has their way of preventing cheating. In addition to keeping the student’s camera on for the whole period, there are also special procedures, such as keeping the students’ microphones on for the entire period to prevent the students from sharing answers with a friend or family member(s) and to do unnecessary and inappropriate actions while testing. In Ms. Clarice Chang’s regular U.S. History class, the students have to keep their hands in the sight of the camera after finishing taking the test to prevent sharing answers with a friend. Some teachers also prepared different sets of problems for each class period and shortened the work time to a reasonable extent, giving enough time to work on their test but no extra time for sending images and asking friends for help. 

With the upcoming quarter-finals, many students responded the feeling of worry and nervousness, as Eric Fu, 9, said, “[I am] very nervous since I feel like I am unprepared.” Under pressure, many students run the extra mile to prepare for tests. Many of them prepared for taking their finals by looking over previous class notes, doing the chapter reviews in the textbook, finishing the chapter review assignments assigned by the teacher, and working on the extra credits to boost their subject grade. “I followed the guidelines given by the teachers, and I reviewed all the chapters and topics until I got very familiar with the information,” Hailey Ng, 10, said. 

When reviewing, some students find online school to be more difficult to communicate with their teachers, and also easier to get distracted. “When reviewing for a test, we might not know every point of the topic, and there’s the chance that we happen to wander off when the teacher talks about it. On top of that, when testing, we might also be distracted by the things around us,” Huixing Zhang, 11, said. On top of communicating with teachers and focusing on the content, some students also came across unpreventable problems. “For me, because I am international, it is the time difference and the internet issue that bothers me the most,” George Zhao, 12, said. These difficulties can worsen one’s testing experience, making the students more nervous about the finals. 

Quarter-finals are just a progress check, informing the students how well they are doing in class, and the quarter-final week is simply about submitting late work and sending out a progress report to the families. Though it is the first online final, we are hopeful that the students will overcome the difficulties and get a grade proportional to their efforts.