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Helping or Haunting?

Midterms at Bloomsburg University have become a more prevalent conversation as members continue to question the impact for students and faculty.
Donyae Trawick
Students begin to wind down from the midterms into next week’s workload.

Students everywhere in the United States have been dreading the day that midterms would arrive. Students even began to mark this down on their calendars at home, at school, and on the refrigerator. The intensity increases, and the emotions of these learners begin to show all at once. 

These exams have played a critical role in understanding a student’s growth over the years, but this role has been questioned by many at Bloomsburg University. It seems as though there are various, and at times, opposing, conversations surrounding the impact of midterms within our system.

Faculty, which include professors and instructors, have been assigned to design and implement midterms into their curriculum. Even before the midterms, they are responsible for carrying out a well-equipped class that prepares students for these significant assessments. This has included lectures, discussions, and materials that prepare students for success.

Assistant Professor of Sociology Scott Duncan shared the benefits of midterms, as he feels that they are well-designed exams. They are also defined as “excellent tools”, in which “professors can identify areas that students are struggling and use that insight to provide additional guidance.” Throughout the remainder of the semester, faculty and students begin to understand the direction they should follow through with for the remainder of the semester. It often answers the question for faculty to understand: “Have I taught this content to the best of its ability?” or “Is the curriculum being absorbed in a way that benefits students’ college career?”

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On the other hand, many are worried after Banner has caused issues within the system that was previously built into Bloomsburg University, including midterm grades. Professors received notice from the university that they must have midterm grades submitted by Week 6, but this was arbitrary to the belief that midterms should be carried out during Week 7. With the integration of the new technological system, Banner, students, and faculty are wondering if midterms are even worth their time. Has this truly helped students? Does this still serve a purpose for faculty?

Professor of Criminal Justice Ali Ozdogan feels that they are beneficial but have limitations.

“It is beneficial when it is used as an objective, but they should not be known as the only way of measuring the learning,” said Duncan.

These other tools include homework, assignments, and participation and have been taken into consideration when submitting students’ grades.

Two months of the semester have been completed by this point, so many believe students should have a good understanding of whether or not they are performing at the level they should.  Dr. Dennis Frohlich, Associate Professor of Media and Journalism, took the time to share his own experience with designing midterms.

“Midterms are just another week for me…. In my classes, each week builds off the previous week, and each week is essential for the overall trajectory of the course,” said Frohlich.

If grades have been consistently updated, many question if there should be a heavy dependency on a midterm grade to simply understand their current standing in the course.

Midterms have also been known to cause anxiety and stress. These exams have often been defined by members at the university as plain stressful, where the pressure to perform well increases. Other faculty are certain that it may just be something that stresses students out. They continue with concerns: “If the class doesn’t have about 1/2 of their grades in, it might not give a true reflection of where their grade might be.” This faculty member continues with the worry of a student’s grade: “Courses and course grading varies so much, and I am concerned students may place too much weight and too much worry on their midterm grade.”

How a student approaches the midterms and the strategies they use to prepare can have a lasting impact on each and every student’s college experience. Will midterms be a permanent fixture at Bloomsburg or a thing of the past?


Students begin to wind down from the midterms into next week’s workload. (Donyae Trawick)

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Donyae Trawick, Multimedia Journalist

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