Milken changes finals assessment system

Michael Kessler

News Editor

Starting this year, Milken High School will implement a new formal assessment system, focused on revamping end-of-year finals and adding midterm assessments.

The new system, formally titled “semester-based flexible assessments,” will represent a noticeable shift from Milken’s past assessment system, which did not include midterms and used the final few days of school as an official finals period.

With semester-based flexible assessments, midterm assessments will take place between December and January. Finals will take place between May and June. Teachers will have the freedom to decide when and how they will assess their students, with the only requirement being that an official assessment must take place within the allotted time periods.

“Assessment strategies, times, and practices vary. Because of this, we don’t need a set final exam period,” Dr. Roger Fuller, upper school principal, said.

According to Fuller, both faculty and students will benefit in numerous ways as a result of this change. Milken will now have a better, more flexible assessment system, and one that will reduce student stress, incorporate a larger spectrum of possible assessments, and allow teachers more teaching days.

Fuller contends that the implementation of midterm assessments has taken this long because important school changes of this nature take time to execute.

“Culture change should be evolutionary, not revolutionary,” Fuller said. “We first have to analyze how we assess, and then we analyze when we assess.”

The process of breaking up the finals period actually began a few years ago when the Hebrew, foreign languages, and Jewish studies departments held their own specialized finals before the end of school.

After a meeting with Fuller and the department heads in August, the decision was made to use semester-based assessments for every department and subject in the high school.