The exam exemption policy has changed back to how it was two years ago.
“So the change is actually going back to the way exam exemptions used to be before COVID,” Assistant Principal Sara Moseley said. “Because of COVID, we didn’t count attendance or tardies, but we are going back to the original exemption program, it’s a sliding rule based on your grade to how many absences you can have.”
Exemptions are a way for the administration to reward students for their hard work and attending their classes.
“Exemptions are not something that we have to give, they are a privilege for students. Meeting these requirements means you can exempt, also helps students be in a class and it keeps us from having as many students absent and missing class,” Moseley said. “You’ll also notice that the grade you can have now is up to an 80 instead of an 85, so that’s the other change as well.”
This method was created to effectively help students and teachers at the end of the semester.
“When I was a teacher, it helped me if my students worked real hard, the other side of it being an English teacher, I’d have fewer essays to grade at the end of the semester and so all the work students had done showed that they understood the work they were given,” Moseley said. “So it was kind of a win-win. They felt good about their grades. They knew that’s the grade they would get for this semester, and not have to study for as many classes for those big finals, especially when you start getting up in your 11th and 12th grade years with all these extra AP classes.”
Though teachers may view this policy as fair, not all students feel the same, since tardies are now also counted towards exemption. For example, students going a from the third floor all the way to the ROTC building or B-wing might have a hard time making it to class before the end of the passing period..
“I don’t think it’s fair because it’s punishing you academically for tardiness and also that’s not an academic thing, like how fast you can get to class if you get stuck in traffic or have a really far away class and one absence is really easy to get. It should be at least a few absences to incur penalty because like it’s so easy to just, you know, be a little late one day and maybe you have to go to the bathroom, or you end up just being like a minute late to class because of it,” senior Nick Harper said.
Administrators might think this policy helps students, but in reality it just makes them anxious about their grades and attendance. Also, there are many elements that are out of the students’ control.
“If the bathroom is full or something and you have to go around to find a different bathroom; there are so many different factors. There’s no accounting for that. Punishing someone who doesn’t want to be absent obviously is just dumb. Then you also get punished for absences like tardies with lunch detention,” Harper said. “There’s no point to punish someone twice for the same thing, especially if the second punishment is once again academic. It’s like giving someone a bad grade for being late. It doesn’t make sense, your grades only be affected by your academic performance, not how fast you can get to class. I don’t think it’s fair at all.”
This is something that might stay and we cannot do anything about it, so it’s best to be aware of the times where we can control not being tardy or absent.
“I think it’s just really important to keep track of your attendance and bring in notes when you have them make serious decisions. Of course, if you’re not well and your parents keep you home, do that,” Moseley said. “But keeping your grades up and being in class would be really important and it takes a lot off your mind if you’re able to take some of this off your list at the end of the year.”