Korea International School (KIS)
For the first time in Korea International School (KIS) history, teachers and students have collaborated to actively promote balance for students through the creation of the Balance Committee. However, these efforts have not proved to serve their purpose of putting less stress on students.
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Throughout the past few years, students have constantly complained about the workload at KIS and the hardships that come with managing both academics and extracurriculars at the same time. At the beginning of the 2012~13 school year, the Student Council recruited both students and staff members to create a group called the Balance Committee. The Balance Committee, through holding surveys for students and receiving input from staff, try to come up with solutions to the biggest problems students have regarding balance in school.
Although it hasn't even been a year since the Balance Committee has been established, it has already dealt with a few of the main problems associated with lack of balance. For example, in response to students complaints about having three or four assessments in one day, the Balance Committee has set a policy regarding the number of tests, quizzes, or projects students can have per day. According to the policy, major assessments can only be given to students in either their first or third class out of the four classes they have in a day.
At a glance, this limit to the number of assessments teachers can give seems like a huge improvement for the students. However, the vast majority of students feel otherwise. Teachers say that this two-assessments-per-day policy is supposed to promote balance and help us, but that is definitely not the case-at least for me, says Yena Kim (10). Its as if teachers feel obligated to give out tests and projects every time their class is the first or third of the day, and now there isn't a single day where we don't have two major assignments due. It seems as if, now that days where tests are allowed to be taken or projects are allowed to be due for a particular class are considered rare, teachers take every chance they get. It isn't unusual for a student to have more than seven quizzes a week, yet the student is still considered to have a balanced life because he or she can have a maximum of two per day.
Another problem with this policy is that it requires cooperation from both the students and the teachers-not only in the Balance Committee, but in the entire school. Sometimes, teachers deviate from this rule completely, making assignments due on consecutive days or assigning tests on days that they normally shouldn't be able to. Although this is a failure on the teachers part to abide by the policy, students should be the ones keeping teachers in check by talking to the teacher or a member of the Balance Committee about this issue.
A final issue with this policy is that it does not set a limit on pop quizzes. According to the Balance Committee, pop quizzes are allowed to be given any day at any time because they do not require preparation and therefore should not add to the daily workload of students. Although this makes sense, things change when teachers take advantage of pop quizzes and instead make them pop tests or make them unreasonably frequent. This defeats the purpose of pop quizzes, which are hypothetically supposed to be used simply to check the knowledge of students, not to delve into specifics.
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