Parents of Ridge High School students have received an email that the schedule for quarterly assessments — which last year replaced midterms and finals in Ridge classes — has been slightly revised so that students won't be taking the final test for the marking period the day after returning from the NJEA conference.
The communication last Friday from Ridge High School Principal Francis Howlett was sent out on Friday to "inform you that there has been a slight change in the dates of administration of quarterly assessments for the first marking period."
Quarterlies tests now will be given on November 5 and 6, the days before the NJEA conference, and then on Nov. 12, 13, and 14 for the first marking period of the school year 2013-14, Howlett said in the brief letter.
The annual statewide New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) annual convention this year falls on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 7 and 8.
At the last board meeting in September, parents had asked school officials — including the administration — to review the previous schedule which had students resuming quarterly assessments on Nov. 11, the Monday after returning from the four-day weekend.
"This change will extend the first marking period by one day, which will be subtracted from the second marking period," Howlett said in his letter. "All other marking periods and quarterly assessment dates will not be affected."
Some parents said that the weekend allows students time for college visits — harder to schedule now that the school district has this year eliminated the traditional weeklong February break in an effort to get students out of school earlier.
Monique Loh was among the speakers at the meeting who said that there had been a great deal of concern among parents who wanted to take their students to visit colleges, or parents whose children had other activities planned for that four-day weekend.
Schools Superintendent Nick Markarian said at that meeting that the issue had to be weighed against the need for some students to have grade transcripts sent out as soon as possible to colleges following the end of the first marking period in November. He also said that the NJEA break is not considered by the school's administration to be vacation time for students.
But he said following the meeting that school officials would review the scheduling of the tests.
Parents also asked that homework not be given on nights before quarterly tests were being given during part of the school day.
Markarian on Monday said that he doesn't know if teachers will be forgoing homework on those days.
Mother J. Risavi brought up the point — which also has been made by others — that the quarterly assessments are more stressful to students than midterms and finals. Students previously had a special schedule with time built in for studying prior to the twice-a-year exams.