The Student News Site of Conestoga High School



Cumulative exams to return in 2024-25 school year


By Howard Kim, Co-News Editor

Starting in the 2024-25 school year, cumulative exams will return on a course-by-course basis at a time that teachers will be able to decide. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting interruption to school, Conestoga administration removed midterms and finals four years ago.

Starting next school year, each department will decide which courses within its subject area will have cumulative exams and at what point in the year they will administer them. Instead of reinstituting midterms and finals fully like they were in the past, most courses will only have one cumulative exam per year. 

Each department will choose when the cumulative exams will be, allowing for flexibility in the way teachers assess students’ progress depending on their own curriculum. Some departments, such as English, business/technology and visual/performing arts, are leaning toward not adding any exams into their courses.

“Our major assessments are usually portfolio, project or performance based,” said Amy Cruz, visual/performing arts department chair. “In terms of curriculum, these changes will not affect us.”

Other departments, such as world languages, science and mathematics, are planning on reintroducing cumulative exams into some classes.

“For the world languages department, we decided that we are going to give a (cumulative) exam in the courses at the halfway point through their programs,” said Stacy Katz, world languages department co-chair. “It might happen anywhere from March, April, May, June — something toward the end of the year instead of halfway through the year after the first semester, and that gives teachers some flexibility.”

Even within the same department, every course will adapt to the changes differently depending on how rigorous the material is, what course level it is and whether it already has an AP or Keystone exam.

“We didn’t feel that any of our AP classes should require a final because they’re taking AP exams in May, and just a few weeks later, they would take a final which seems a little bit excessive,” said Allison Long, mathematics department chair. “But we did feel, for example, in (some of) our AP classes, that it would be helpful to have a cumulative assessment like a midterm.”

One of the most significant motives for bringing back cumulative exams is to provide students with more exposure to longer, college-style exams before they graduate. As AP and Keystone exams are the only cumulative exams administered at Conestoga currently, some students do not receive much experience with such assessments.

“At first, it’s a little bit annoying, but in reality, it’s probably a good thing because it’s better to have exposure to a large cumulative exam. Kids that don’t take AP classes are going to have no exposure to one before they go to college,” junior Brendan Crump said. “It’s definitely a positive for people that aren’t going to be paying for AP exams because they still get some practice on the cumulative exams before college, which I’m assuming (have) midterms and finals (that) are a lot more difficult than even the AP classes.”

Howard Kim can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Howard Kim
Howard Kim, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Howard Kim is a junior and the Co-News Editor of The Spoke. Last year, he served as a Co-Sports Editor. He likes to cover local government and sports-related stories. Outside of the newspaper, he enjoys going on rollercoasters and watching Christopher Nolan movies.