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New Exam Model Offers More Opportunity for Learning and Understanding

To more closely align assessment with learning, PCD piloted a new exam schedule this year - offering cumulative exams in April instead of the traditional June. The idea behind the spring exam schedule ensures that all students have time to master missed content and concepts and generate more durable learning.

"When we wait until the very end of the school year to conduct a major assessment such as final exams, our students rarely have the opportunity to see what they did well and where they need to improve," says Jen Aitken, director of teaching and learning.

The new test model holds spring exams during the week of late April into early May and follows a growing academic practice that prioritizes learning and understanding over cramming and short-term memorization. Before exams, students are also offered daily blocks of study, tutorial, and advisory times.

"It's important that we make our exam period a more meaningful experience for students. Instead of simply 'surviving' their finals, they can now go back to the classroom and work with teachers to revise that writing assignment or make corrections on math problems that they may not have successfully solved," adds Aitken.

Real-time feedback during the exam period from both students and teachers was overwhelmingly positive. With the early exam model, some classes had new opportunities for special projects and field trips. With the positive student and teacher feedback, the new test schedule will continue next year.

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