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Wayne, N.J. School District To Eliminate Midterms, Finals

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WAYNE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Midterms and finals are being done away with and replaced with a new form of testing at one New Jersey high school, in a drastic measure driven by the Common Core curriculum.

As CBS 2’s Emily Smith reported Monday, the change has not gone over well with some parents.

At Wayne Hills High School in Wayne, some students were quite glad that they will no longer cram for midterms and finals.

“It’s really just a lot of stress; a lot of studying for one test,” one student said.

But there will be a replacement, in the form of ongoing tests aligned with the controversial Common Core Learning Standards.

The new, computer-based tests will take about nine hours and 45 minutes in total, and will be administered throughout a 20-day window. The tests will require explanations, reasoning and problem solving – in contrast to the old multiple choice format.

Former teacher Pat Haliskoe said she supports the new assessment-based testing.

“As far as midterms and finals, I don’t know. You know, anyone can spoon-feed kids to take those midterms and finals and pass them. That can be done,” Hailskoe said.

But others said doing away with final exams will hurt their college-bound students, who will face such tests there.

“And they need to be prepared when they go to college and in life,” a parent said.

Other districts, including schools in Danbury, Connecticut are establishing similar models and doing away with finals. But whether for or against the Common Core, school officials said it is all part of a plan to regain instructional time being lost to the new assessment testing.

But when final exams are removed, some parents said you remove a lot more than stress.

“I think that by removing measures or metrics of success or when a child might need help, you remove an opportunity to, again, teach that student,” a parent said.

In another sources of contention, the district is getting rid of history textbooks in the classroom as part of the Common Core curriculum, in an approach that relies heavily on the Internet for research.

A representative of the district said it is not an ideal solution doing away with final exams, but it is one administrators believe serves students’ best needs.

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