Tara Joyce and Thomas Kienzler
Danbury becomes the first town in Connecticut to end finals at its High School.
The Danbury board of education voted 10-1 Wednesday to eliminate finals and midterms. The school district is the first in the state to do so, but feels others will soon follow.
"We've had conversations with our colleagues throughout Connecticut and the country. Many in leadership positions say we're right behind you," says Dr. William Glass, deputy superintendent for Danbury schools.
According to Dr. Glass, research on the subject has been extensive. "On average a four year student will, over the course of that youngsters academic career, loose 14 1/2 years of instructional time to midterm and final exams."
At Wednesday's meeting, Danbury High School Principal Gary Bocaccio made his case for final elimination. "The reality is we can do a better job preparing kids for college by teaching them appropriate study skills and by giving them authentic types of as assessments that they will have in college," said Bocaccio.
Michael Ferguson, the only board member to vote no, disagrees. While he respects the board's decision, he fears it will be a disservice to Danbury students. "There is so much that comes from midterms and finals that prepares you mentally and emotionally for what is to come in college."
Ferguson says he conducted his own research, speaking with schools and parents across the county who share his concerns. He also heard from Danbury parents who fear the district is "rubber stamping" the policy.
Bocaccio says the idea has been thoroughly vetted from parents to school staff, all the way up to the university level.
The elimination of final and midterm exams will take effect next school year.