Students struggling with math tests need more preparation


Courtesy of Amanda Sarrol

By Amanda Sarrol

With students back at school for about three months, many of them are having trouble adjusting to the academic differences between remote and in-person classes. After having an hour and thirty minutes to take math tests, to forty-five minutes, students are finding that they do not have enough time to finish their tests. 

It seems to be that students’ main goal when taking math tests does not come down to actually getting the answers correct, but more about finishing the test. 

“My last few tests I felt rushed. Even if I knew the content and every detail, as soon as I took them, I would almost feel as if timing was more important and just being able to get through them within the class period was the goal,” sophomore Madeline Mack said. 

Teachers do not allow students to come back and take tests unless they have specific accommodations. Although students need more time to finish and accurately answer math questions, coming back and taking tests would be unfair to students who did finish their tests on time. 

With a year at home, students had access to resources and more time to take tests. Now, with a shorter allotted time to take tests, students are left with their own knowledge, without any resources.  

“What I would say is that students are really rusty. They are rusty on their typical math skill, just their number sense. They are rusty on studying and how to prepare for an exam. They are rusty on pacing themselves,” math teacher Laura Jenkins said.

However, there are several methods that teachers can use rather than giving more time for students to take math tests. 

“Going at a fast pace through the lessons really threw me off because I really need a teacher to explain things to me rather than just doing it on my own. I feel like if she [her teacher] went through the lessons a little bit slower, to explain the problems, I think maybe I could have understood the content better,” freshman Avery Olszewski said. 

Spending more time on lessons and thoroughly going through them can be a great method to use. It gives students the opportunity to spend time with the content, practice without any resources, and prepare themselves for what might be on their math tests. 

“With the classes that I have, I am trying to accommodate as best as I can with the curriculum that we have to go through. We have slowed down, actually, in both my classes. In a typical year, we would be a little further ahead of where we are at right now,” math teacher Brian Thornley said. 

Students are still adjusting to the changes that have occurred in their math classes. However, as the year progresses, students will be accustomed to the changes. Creating and enforcing alternative methods, such as spending more time on content and having a slower pace, is temporary, and is necessary for students right now.