Hidden handbook policy could improve student life


Illustration: Lucia Granja

Teachers stack tests, projects, and papers onto students.

Lucia Granja, Staff Writer

Walking out of a classroom, nerves frazzled from a test, just to walk into another classroom and take another test. As students can testify, tests, papers, and big projects have a tendency to line up on the same week, and when they do, they put everyone on edge.  There are policies in place to prevent multiple tests and projects on one day, but students don’t know about them, and therefore can’t take advantage of them. The school needs a more transparent scheduling system so that students and teachers can more effectively communicate about tests and projects.  

According to the Upper School Handbook, “students should not have more than two tests or projects due on any given day.”  The handbook details that if a student has more than two tests or projects in one day, it is the student’s responsibility to tell their teacher so that the teacher can reschedule.  Student’s schedules often break these policies because this section of the handbook is not commonly known among students. Unnecessary stress due to accidental over-scheduling is a waste of time, because that over-scheduling is technically illegal. School communication of this academic policy is necessary because students should be informed.

…School communication is not just important for the students, but also for the teachers.”

In the past, teachers were required to write their test schedules onto a physical calendar located in Old Main, so that the information was available to both teachers and students.  This prevented teachers from scheduling more than 2 tests on one day, but the new block schedule and Veracross made the calendar obsolete. Apparently, there is an equivalent to this old calendar on Veracross, but most teachers don’t use it, much less know where it is. Teachers want students to perform well on tests and projects, but teachers can’t help scheduling overlaps if they don’t have access to test and project schedules in other classes. Therefore school communication is not just important for the students, but also for the teachers.

That is not to say that there is no inter-department communication about tests and projects. Occasionally, a department will send out an email about an upcoming test or project to the other subject departments, which is an example of great communication. But, these emails don’t get sent out very often, leaving teachers in the dark much of the time. Although this lack of communication is no particular party’s fault, everyone involved can help solve this problem in different ways.

The school needs to create a public calendar of all tests and projects, whether physical, or online, that is easily accessible to both teachers and students. The school also needs to communicate the test and project scheduling policies with the students, so that students can be aware and in control of their schedule and workload. Once students are made aware of these policies, they can take initiative to discuss scheduling with their teachers. Teachers can take initiative too, to communicate with other teachers and their students about scheduling.

While communicating about scheduling policies won’t solve every stresser for students, the school environment will be less on edge if we can communicate about and obey this policy.  When you open Veracross to see three red scheduling blocks reading “test,” and your heartbeat starts to speed up, just remember that there is a way out.