(April 23, 2021) For the second consecutive school year, Worcester County students will not take final exams.
This week, members of the Board of Education voted unanimously to waive the typical end-of-year requirement due to students participating in distance learning for much of the year.
Annette Wallace, the chief operating officer and chief academic officer for grades 9-12 at Worcester County Public Schools, said the vote includes exams for all high school courses and middle school courses that count for high school credits. Typically, the exams are worth 20 percent of a student’s grade in the course.
Wallace added that most state assessments also are not happening this year, minus those in some English and math courses.
In lieu of the tests, students will complete final projects to demonstrate what they learned in each course. However the projects will not carry the same weight as the exams.
“It will just be a grade in the grade book,” Wallace said.
She added that this will likely be the last year that final exams are waived.
“I suspect that next year virtual learning will look different,” she said. “It will still exist in our county but it will look very different and there will be a process in place for students who are on virtual to take finals.”
The state assessments are also set to return next year.
Also this week, Jess McInerney, the coordinator of social studies, JROTC, and service learning instruction and Melanie Coleman, a first grade teacher at Ocean City Elementary, presented a plan that will implement changes to social studies curriculum at the elementary school level.
The changes include integrating the content with historical thinking and inquiry skills based on the national college, career and civic life framework developed to upgrade social studies standards and practices.
McInery said the program is bringing the same curriculum standards as what is practiced at the middle school level to elementary school students. They are engaging with developing questions, evaluating sources, developing claims, and communicating conclusions in their social studies classes.
The historical thinking skills are embedded in each grade’s historical content. Worcester County teachers are receiving supports on these changes through updated curriculum documents, collaborative professional development, and an Elementary Lead Teacher Group for feedback and school support.