In Depth

Assessments Span One Week This Term

Phillips Academy implemented Assessment Week last year to allow classes to use their last meeting each term more constructively and to allow a term project to replace a final exam. “Our hope is that having a range of assessment tools (instead of just exams) enables faculty to graft the most appropriate final assessment for each particular class,” wrote John Rogers, Dean of Studies. The only noticeable adjustment to last year’s schedule is that Assessment Week takes place during a full week of school instead of having exam blocks separated by the weekend. By chance, the 2007 calendar determined this change. Winter Term exams will include a reading day, since there will not be a full weekend between the last day of classes and the beginning of Assessment Week. Another difference is the increased number of common exam blocks due to the term calendar. The common exam blocks are based on the needs of the different academic departments, and therefore vary between terms. “There are four common blocks in the fall, two in the winter and two in the spring— the same as last year,” wrote Rogers. “In the fall there are five days of Assessments (this was true both this year and last). That enables us to have four blocks for common finals,” wrote Bruce Bacon, Department Chair of Theater and Dance, who helped create the new system. “It’s a little early to tell what students think about Assessment Week, as it was just implemented last year,” said Jonathan Stableford, Instructor in English. Bacon wrote, “I think we’re still in transition as faculty become familiar both with how the system works (what they can and cannot do), and with the opportunities it affords to structure some more creative and different assessments.”