Interims Don’t Serve a Purpose

Hannah Yon, staff

With a few clicks, students can see if the science test that they took yesterday has been graded, if they have any missing assignments, and if they have been marked as absent from a class. Synergy makes attendance and grades available to students and parents, anywhere and anytime. With this being the case, interims are no longer necessary.
The purpose of interims is to ensure that parents are aware if their child is failing a class, but the number of students who require this is an extreme minority. English teacher Mr. O’Halloran revealed that merely four students total out of his three classes had failing grades by the first quarter’s interim this year.
Moreover, submitting grades for interims can be a time-consuming process for teachers. “The system itself can be slow,” Ms. Young, an English teacher, noted. “When it’s overloaded because everyone’s using it on the same Friday afternoon that interims are due, it can take a long time.”
Interims create a rigid deadline, forcing teachers to get all the grades of the marking period so far in before the gradebook locks. In addition to working with students who have been absent, teachers must also work with students who scramble to turn in assignments by the interim date. Although this isn’t necessarily bad, “if they turn in something Thursday night, [teachers] don’t have time to grade that and get that in for the Friday submission,” stated Ms. Young.
Furthermore, students note that the majority of their teachers enter grades at a reasonable time anyway. “In my math class last year, we would take a test 5th period and be able to check what we got on that test by the end of 6th period that same day,” said junior Vivian Higgins. On the other hand, teachers who don’t grade in a timely manner don’t grade assignments faster for interims. Sophomore Kylie Crawford shared that “one of [her] teachers has barely graded any of the assignments that [they have] done, so the interim grades weren’t actually accurate.”
With a virtual grading system that updates in real time, interims are simply an outdated formality. It is counterproductive to force a deadline, gradebook closure, and half day in the middle of a marking period. Eliminating them altogether would not hinder students’ and parents’ abilities to check their grades, and it would definitely alleviate stress on teachers. In a post-Zoom world, education has become much more flexible and individualized, allowing students and teachers to operate on a schedule that works for them. The school system needs to prune their practices and recognize reality for what it is — fluid.