Changes in exam exemptions

by Chloe Jordan | tech editor

Semester exams will look different this year for students, especially for those wanting to exempt some of their course exams. 

“In the past, you could have as low as an 80, but now you have to have an 85 or higher to be able to exempt that class,” Assistant Principal Sara Moseley said.

Attendance, which is normally taken into consideration for students to exempt exams, was waived this year.

“Usually it’s a much longer process and conversations and kids have to do more on this side, like get your attendance cleared, get in the notes, verify all of those things,” Moseley said. “But right now it’s hard to keep our grades up, so keep your grades up and we’re going to let you exempt because you’ve done all that hard work.”

Waiving the attendance portion of guidelines for exempting exams may help relieve students.

“There’s so many extra little pieces, that taking that attendance piece off allows kids to just focus on the work,” Moseley said.

A “U,” or unsatisfactory, rating in conduct can also keep students from being able to exempt courses.

“On Dec. 8, 7:00 am is when the window opens, and it will close on Dec. 9 at 4:30 pm,” Moseley said.

All other criteria remains the same this year for students to be able to exempt exams.

“This year has been different than anything we’ve ever experienced and Northeast is really, really good about getting good instruction and kind of being ahead of the curve, but this COVID thing kind of changes things everyday,” Moseley said. “And, we still wanted to give that opportunity to exempt finals, and try to make it a little more equitable.”

All students are going to be required to take their exams during their exam time, either in class or virtually live with the teacher. Asynchronous students will have to schedule exam times outside of class with their teachers if they can’t attend the live Zoom to take the test.

“Exemptions are not policy. We don’t have to give exemptions. It’s a privilege and not necessarily a right,” Moseley said.

Exams are Dec. 15 through Dec. 18 and are 10 percent of students’ semester grade instead of 20 percent. 

“The problem we had with scheduling finals this year was, because usually finals are 90 minutes, the schedules for bus pickup really kept us from having our traditional schedule,” Moseley said. “So, this year’s schedule worked really well, I think.”

With the complications of virtual learning, some students are struggling and won’t be able to exempt exams.

“I’m concerned about students generally,” Moseley said. “I think the grades this last semester have been not where Johnson’s used to, not where the district, not where the state is used to kids being and it raises a lot of questions about how we can help kids. I think we’ll have fewer exemptions.”

Waiving the attendance portion of the guidelines for students to exempt exams is meant to be an incentive for students who work hard to get good grades.

“I want all of our kids to be successful. This COVID thing is really hard, and kids that are outside school are really good at the online or not really good at the online,” Moseley said. “Maybe it feels like an incentive to work really hard to get that grade so you can get that 85, because then that takes one big thing off your to-do list.”

Exemption Guidelines – 

https://www.neisd.net/cms/lib/TX02215002/Centricity/Domain/5856/Semester%20Exam%20Exemption%20Guidelines.pdf

Frequently Asked Questions – 

https://www.neisd.net/cms/lib/TX02215002/Centricity/Domain/5856/Exams_Frequently_Asked_Questions.pdf

Exam Schedule – 

https://www.neisd.net/cms/lib/TX02215002/Centricity/Domain/5856/Fall_Semester_Exam_Schedule_2020.pdf

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About The Author

Chloe Jordan is currently a sophomore at Johnson. She has enjoyed writing and journalism since seventh grade. Her other favorite hobbies include roller skating, playing guitar, and painting. You’ll most likely find her in the Johnson Theatre workshop, backstage, or at a computer in A128.

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