As the children in grade schools are counting down the days until Christmas Break and are writing their letters to Santa, students in High School and College are frantically studying for midterms and Exams! I teach at Holy Cross and our school has a great rule about preparing for Exams. One week before exams there can be no more formal assessments in our classes. Our students should no longer learn new material. They should have an entire week to review in their classes with their teachers to make sure they have a good grasp of the material. So, we do review for a few days. We are also obligated to give every student an actual study guide one week before the exams. We don’t want to attempt to trick our students with what will be on the exams. We want our students to understand the material as well as they possibly can.
This year I am giving my students an all essay exam. I gave them the essay question as a guide so they can research their tests, notes, and projects in order to write the essay. They can also bring an index card with an outline of how they want to write their essay on the day of the exam. I don’t want my students to regurgitate facts, I want them to synthesize and summarize their understanding. As my principals constantly says, “I want the students to have an understanding that they can recall when they are 30 years old.” That is my philosophy in my classroom. What will matter most about this coursework. As a theology teacher it is developing a deeper relationship with God through different modes of prayer and the church and all that it offers to make this a reality.
Please say a prayer for all those students who are studying and trying to gain a better understanding of their classes this week.