Middle School exams: how & why
December 1, 2021
To help students become ready for the journey ahead, teachers in Middle School give exams or end-of-semester assessments in Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Grade.
Whether an exam, project, essay, or research paper, these assessments are thoughtfully designed to help students build the academic confidence to:
- revisit earlier concepts and see connections across units of study
- apply skills learned throughout the semester to a culminating scenario
- learn how to use a study guide, keep important documents, and review key ideas over a long period of time
- practice preparing for and taking exams so they are ready for the experience in high school
To set children up for success, teachers put “scaffolding” in place to ensure the exams or projects are spaced out over an entire week-long exam period. They also provide specific strategies to help students build study skills:
- In Sixth Grade, a complete study guide is given and students are directed on how to complete it.
- In Seventh Grade, a partial study guide or topics list is given and students compete this more independently.
- In Eighth Grade, students develop their own study guide and review independently.
“Scaffolding also takes place with essay writing in terms of how much teacher support is received,” writes Megan Talarico, who led a recent assessment committee that outlined these guidelines. “In Sixth Grade, students develop an outline, write, and revise their work in workshops including teacher guidance. By Eighth Grade, students may be offered prompts and allowed to bring in an independently completed outline.”
Here is a recent sample exam schedule.