November assessments: What’s different from the original December final exams?


Photo by Mandy Krause

This year’s assessment period stretches over the third weekend in November.

Garrison Sloan, Editor-In-Chief

With the return of in-person classes, Lake Forest Academy is now preparing for the return of in-person final exams. The assessments, which will take place in November, will come just under one year after the last set of exams, as finals for last year’s spring semester were cancelled due to the transition to online learning. However, like most things this year, these exams are going to look a bit different from previous years. 

Unlike previous years, this semester, final assessments will take place over a period of five days, rather than three. Additionally, the assessment period will run from Friday, November 20th to Tuesday, November 24th, utilizing the weekend for testing days. 

“If we had come back to school in a non-COVID time, I think we would have had Saturday exams anyway,” said Dean of Student Chris Tennyson, who was responsible for much of the planning regarding the modified exams. “It will allow the students to get out a day or two earlier. The main purpose was so that each department could have its own separate day for exams.” 

Tennyson also noted that the weekend exams were also set so that the assessment period cut as little as possible into in-person class days, prior to LFA returning to online learning in late November. 

Tennyson also strayed away from referring to these tests as “exams,” stating that “assessments” were a more fitting name due to their differences from typical finals. 

“The assessments will be no longer than 90 minutes, and will only account for between 10-15% of a students semester grade,” said Tennyson. “Each of the five days, there will be three 90-minutes slots, which will also accommodate students with extra time, and each day will be for a different subject.” 

It’s also important to note that not only will the format of the exams be modified this year, but the actual testing rooms will also look much different. 

“In the past, some of you may remember us putting 100+ people in the gym for finals,” said Tennyson. “That obviously can’t happen this year because of the need for social distancing. Because of the way we’ve split up the testing blocks, most students will just test in a classroom.” 

Similar to past years, many teachers may not have formal sit-down assessments. Instead, it’s up to the teachers to decide whether or not to give a standard test, or something else, such as a paper, final project, or a lab for science students. 

End-of-semester exams are always a point of stress, and in this particularly stressful year, many students are probably not looking forward to them. However, Tennyson has encouraged students to look at these exams differently to help relieve some of that anxiety. 

“There’s always going to be stress around these major assessment periods,” said Tennyson,. “But if we can think of them as just a double-period test, as opposed to a two-and-a-half hour exam, I hope that will allow our students to not feel as anxious.”