Should English Essays be on the Testing Calendar?

Courtesy of IconFinder

Courtesy of IconFinder

Myers Rodberg '19, Staff Writer

The debate of whether Marymount’s English essays should be on the testing calendar has gone on long enough. For years, students have voiced their opinions and advocated for a change in the system; according to a few Marymount Seniors, the preparation and time commitment required for English essays often surpasses what is needed to prepare for tests. Students spend the weeks prior to submitting their essays brainstorming, editing, and visiting the writing center. The process of crafting and polishing the final piece may come only after hours of focused drafting. Why would it be unreasonable, then, for the testing calendar to accommodate the amount of time and energy students put into these essays? If essays take more time and preparation than tests, shouldn’t it be required for teachers of other subjects to take them into account?

For the majority of classes here at Marymount, the main percentage of a student’s grade is derived from the test category – generally, forty to sixty-five percent. Because our performance on tests is often the greatest determinant of our final grade, teachers have spread out their exams so that students can focus on an assessment for one or two subjects at a time. But because the English department technically does not assign “tests,” it is excluded from the testing calendar. It is true that essays are very different from an assessment, but, even outside of the preparation that they require, they have a point value that is similar to that of any given test. If an English essay is as much of a determinant of our final semester grade as a test, perhaps it should be considered in the testing calendar. In my opinion, the evidence goes to show that it should.

Marymount students are hardworking, intelligent and motivated girls that should be given the opportunity to perform to the best of their ability. Come on testing calendar, give our essays a chance!