New Assessment Blocks At Montrose


(Credit: Barbara Whitlock)

Montrose introduces new assessment blocks before break to alleviate burden on students. What does the school think?

As April break approaches, there are three thoughts that will most likely cross your mind. The first is, “Yay! A whole week off that I can spend with friends!” Second, “Oh shoot. So much homework.” Lastly, and probably the worst, “The week before is going to be awful.” These three statements are all true, and I can admit that I think about each of them before a break week. 

I am here to tell you some pretty good news. This April break, a new system will be implemented in order to make the workload more manageable. During the two weeks leading up to break, each class will have two assessment blocks, and anything other than one night’s worth of homework must align with its assigned block. Meaning that the dreaded pile-up of tests, quizzes, papers, and projects will be no more. While the assessments will still occur, you won’t have to study for three tests at once while also finishing a paper and a project. As for homework over a break, only AP courses will be permitted to assign work. 

Many members of the Montrose community expressed their gratitude for the new assessment blocks. Bella Prunier ‘24 put it perfectly: “Thank the good Lord.” Mrs. Prunier joined in on the conversation to provide a parental view, stating: “I appreciate the thoughtfulness of the school looking at the schedule and making it more reasonable to set the girls up for success.” The Prunier family were not the only ones who felt that this was a necessary change. Colleen Casey ‘22 said: “It allows for students to organize better so that they can be more prepared for a class’s specific assignment.” To get the faculty’s view on the new changes, I had the opportunity to talk to Ms. White, and she expressed her hope for the blocks. She said: “We’ve seen other schools use this system with great success and we are excited to see how it goes. After April break, we will be collecting feedback from the school community to see what went well and what may need improvement.” Personally, I am very grateful and hopeful for this new system and hope that it will allow all students to have an easier time studying. 

As for the homework over break aspect, I figured that the best person to talk to would be my sister, Catherine Olohan ‘22. I have the terrible task — sorry, the privilege — of sharing a room with Catherine, and have seen firsthand the countless hours that she spent working over breaks. When asked what her thoughts were on the new homework policy, she stated: “while I’ve always held the belief that there should be no work over a break, limiting that to just AP courses is a step in the right direction.” I agree that work over a break should be limited, and should most certainly not take priority over plans with friends and family during the time off. If you want to see a more in-depth take on the homework over break debate, check out Catherine’s article from last year: “Should Students Have Homework Over April Break?” 

Throughout my conversations with students, faculty, and parents, everyone agrees that the new system will be a grand improvement and will allow students to have an easier time focusing on a balanced number of assessments without the additional stress of a deadline from the break week. While the stress of tests, projects, and papers will never fully go away, many in the Montrose community — myself included — are hopeful that some of that will be alleviated by the assessment blocks. 

Helen Olohan ‘24, Staff Writer