Math department to recollect and file assessments

Department Head Barbara Coughlin cites test security

The math department at WHS has begun to recollect quizzes and test shortly after handing them out during class.

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The math department at WHS has begun to recollect quizzes and test shortly after handing them out during class. "“I see that they have [to recollect tests], it’s a problem, but I don't think anyone is really cheating at all,” junior Matt Gilbert said.

Christos Belibasakis

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The math department has begun recollecting quizzes and tests this year. After a quiz or test is graded, students are allowed to briefly look over them with the class before the teacher recollects and files it. This change follows the practice of some other classes, such as freshman biology and junior physics, where the Scantron portion of assessments are recollected.

Math Department Head Barbara Coughlin declined to comment but explained how there are different factors that contributed to the decision. Recollecting quizzes and tests will primarily help ensure security, but there is also a focus on student learning that contributed to the change.

Coughlin describes how she hopes assessments are formative and that students can learn based off of how they do on tests. She emphasizes how students will learn better if they are able to focus on main ideas they are struggling with, not just specific problems. Without tests, students are ostensibly better able to self-assess.

Because of this, Coughlin doesn’t feel that students require their tests and quizzes to prepare for midterms or finals because students already receive a large amount of material and review sheets. By the time midterms or finals arrive, students should have everything they need to be prepared in their notebooks because all materials are provided.

The department’s biggest concern was test security. While she does not know of any specific cases of cheating concerning test information being passed down through the years, Coughlin said that collecting tests would act as a security measure.

Despite these reasons, some students would still rather keep their tests and quizzes. Junior Matthew Gilbert feels that his tests and quizzes are helpful when he studies for midterms.

“I usually look at my past quizzes, see what I got wrong and see the edits my teacher made,” Gilbert said. “And I try to see where I went wrong and face [the mistakes].”

Gilbert believes it will be harder to study with these new changes, for he feels a big part of the first half of the year is taking tests and evaluating what he got wrong. Gilbert understands the department’s decision, but he also hasn’t heard of any cheating.

“I see that they have [to recollect tests], it’s a problem, but I don’t think anyone is really cheating at all,” Gilbert said. “If people were cheating, we’d be getting 100’s [and] not 80’s and 70’s.”

Junior Jakob Simmons also uses his tests and quizzes to review for the math midterms and finals, and he hopes that the math department will follow the science department in dedicating certain blocks to reviewing tests. Although he thinks having his assessments are useful, he understands the math department’s decision.

“I think it’s fair because people that don’t have an older sibling don’t get to have an advantage while people who do have an older sibling [do], and it’s annoying,” Simmons said.

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