Midterms (Self-Evaluations) for Students and Faculty

Take a deep, cleansing breath and plan for a successful finish to the semester.

Posted Oct 12, 2018

Although autumn seems a bit delayed in parts of the US, the semester calendar is still marching on. The Midterms are here (no, not those midterm elections, rather, the midterms that happen on campus).

On many campuses, it’s midterm (exam) time. Students are taking middle of the semester exams and writing papers. Many are looking forward to some sort of pacing break, a few days off to sleep and regroup for the final push.

Now is the time for students to evaluate their performance in their courses. Are they doing as well as they hoped to do where grades are concerned? Are they keeping up with reading and assignments? How are their scores on quizzes and exams? Are there any courses where they are in danger of mediocre or poor performance?

Here is a crib sheet for students to do now (preferably) or when their fall break is over:

1.     Do you know how you are doing performance-wise in each of your classes? If yes, are you doing as well as you expected to do? If not, have you made an appointment with your instructor? If not, do so now.

2.     Ditto for your other courses. Your performance in any course matters—don’t focus only on those in your major.

3.     If you are challenged by or even struggling with material in any course? Find out if tutoring services are available—and then make an appointment and GO. There is no shame in seeking academic assistance.

4.     Do you need to speak with your academic advisor about your course work? If so, make an appointment now, before you leave campus for your break. Send an email and request an appointment. Then GO.

5.     Even if all is well, the semester will speed to a close after midterms. Carefully lay out a plan for how you will complete all papers and other assignments for the semester on time. Make sure you have time to study for finals, which are probably only 6 or 8 weeks away.

What about faculty advisors in psychology? Now is also the time for you to reach out to your advisees to assess how they are doing in their courses. If you receive midterm reports from your Registrar or your students’ instructors, then now is the time to contact those students whose academic performance is in peril. Of course, you should be available to all your advisees, as well as those students enrolled in your courses.

Here is the adviser/instructor crib sheet for midterm time:

1.     Send an email to all your advisees now (most especially those whose course performance is problematic) and encourage them to touch base with you before or after midterms.

2.     Reach out to any students—whether advisees or students in any of your classes—who seem to be struggling academically. Ask them to drop by during your office hours to speak with you about how you can help.

3.     Encourage all students to take advantage of available campus resources, such as tutoring services, the writing center, and the counseling center.

4.     Speak to your departmental colleagues and encourage them to do the above with their students.

5.     Remind the students in your courses as well as your advisees to plan for the second half of the semester. Good starts to the semester can and should end on a high note—and those student beginnings that are less strong can nonetheless be saved or salvaged with your help.

Whether you are a student or an educator, take a deep cleansing breath during your midterm break and plan for the final plunge!