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High School Exam Exemptions - pros/cons

abasketabasket Registered User Posts: 19,222 Senior Member
edited April 2010 in Parents Forum
My sophomore HS son has chosen to do a persuasive speech on why schools should NOT offer exam exemption. (mind you, he LOVES exam exemption himself, but can also see the other side and needed to pick a persuasive topic that his classmates would be against...). At his school, you can exempt semester exams if you have not missed more than one day of the certain class and if you have a "C" or above - at least I think that's the criteria. As a freshman you can exempt 2 each semester, 4 as a sophomore, 6 as a junior and 8 as a senior. My D who is a freshman in college now basically took no exams so to speak for her last two years of high school!

Now of course, in college, while her school is on quarters, she is faced with actuallly having to take an "exam" that covers a whole quarter of information. Tougher to prepare for if you haven't had to do that before.

He's not finding alot of scientific info about the pros and cons, but I told him I would come to my CC mates and ask for further input.

So...high school exam exemption - pros/cons/opinions/other arrangements at other schools????
Post edited by abasket on
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Replies to: High School Exam Exemptions - pros/cons

  • doubleplaydoubleplay Registered User Posts: 3,550 Senior Member
    At our school, they could only exempt their exam the last semester of the senior year, if they were carrying and A in the class.
    Having a final exam encourages students to learn ALL the material, or to go back and review material that they do not feel they learned well in the first place. The end of semester final review brings back all the concepts learned during the course and by reviewing one more time, the student is likely to remember more in the long run.
  • pointegirlpointegirl Registered User Posts: 128 Junior Member
    That's a very relax rule. At daughter's high school, final exam exemption only applies to year-long courses and therefore only applies to year-end (June) finals. The student has to maintain A (93+) for all previous marking periods. There is no limit of how many finals a student can be exempt.
  • franglishfranglish Registered User Posts: 2,308 Senior Member
    Our seniors do a month-long internship during the last month of school, and they are exempt from finals if they maintain an A throughout the year. They would take their finals during the last week of April, so they could do their internships in May-early June. If they are doing AP tests, they have to come back to school to take those when they are scheduled in May. We are in the first year of IB at the present time, with about half of our current juniors. They will probably not be able to do internships next year because they will have to be preparing for their exams. The IB kids will not take school finals.
  • ksmksm Registered User Posts: 288 Junior Member
    I love your son's topic!
    Our school system is currently fazing out exam exemptions.
    One argument that your son might make against exam exemptions is that they encourage students to attend school while ill. As the mom of a son who missed over a week of school with scarlet fever last year due to somebody's strep germs, I agree. He also moaned from his bed at the time, that it was just not fair that he should be penalized for being sick!
    Obviously, schools are offering exemptions as a carrot to increase their attendance rates. And as long as the government ties grant money and honors such as "Blue Ribbon School" awards to attendance, they will have to seek out ways to increase their attendance figures.
  • CoCo - Posts: 645 Member
    PER SEMESTER:

    0/1 Absence = 4 Exemptions
    2 Absences = 3 Exemptions
    3 Absences = 2 Exemptions
    4 Absences = 1 Exemption
    5+ = 0 Exemptions

    Only needing to have an A in the class is a much more lax rule. My only motivation to go to school is for exam exemptions (excluding the fact that you have to show up most of the time by law). I had 13 absences from school last semester (just because) and got straight A's, but still had to take all my exams.

    The cons are feeling the need to show up to school when you are ill. It also makes it hard to schedule appointments with doctors, dentists, etc.
  • bluebayoubluebayou Registered User Posts: 26,266 Senior Member
    HS exam exemption? Sorry, no help here - it's the first I've heard of such a thing. Even seniors take a "final." Our HS semester finals count anywhere from 10-25% of the total grade, so they are not to be missed. :)
  • toledotoledo Registered User Posts: 4,994 Senior Member
    Our school's rule applies only to seniors and only the final semester. It requires both an A and perfect attendance (Yeah, right!) I agree with ksm that it causes sick kids to come to school. AP exams do count as final exams.
  • hahathatsfunny13hahathatsfunny13 Registered User Posts: 308 Junior Member
    My school only allows seniors to be exempt. You have to have gotten an A both semesters, and the teacher has to sign off on it. It sucks for me because AP teachers don't let you skip their final, so I have to take a class final in addition to the AP exams which are required at my school.
  • PackMomPackMom Registered User Posts: 7,667 Senior Member
    No exemptions for anyone at our school. Final exams count 25% of final course grade. Many seniors are often holding their breath through the last exam week because it can literally make or break them. If their grades are borderline, poor performance on the exams can keep them from graduating. It keeps them on their toes right up until the last day.
  • asdfjkl1asdfjkl1 Registered User Posts: 1,950 Senior Member
    Never heard of this "Exempt" principle. And I'd have to take every test--based off it--on excused school-only absences alone. And then with normal absences, forget about it.

    I would rather dislike this whole system to be quite honest. I DID have to show up for the final though. You're not exempt if you're absent. Ever. At least at my school.

    HS MP = 25% of the year unless there's a state test at the end of the year. AP exams count for nothing in my school in terms of grades actualy.
  • jmmomjmmom Registered User Posts: 9,084 Senior Member
    Tell us a little more about this hs. Does it send the preponderance of students on to college? To colleges that are selective in admissions?

    I ask because that might be fodder for the pro/con analysis: does the exam exemption appear to lead to less college readiness? or do the students go on to "difficult" colleges and perform admirably? He could use the type of information to build his case pro and/or con.
  • abasketabasket Registered User Posts: 19,222 Senior Member
    It is a public school in a serving some low income students, many middle class and some upper middle class students. School population is about 1400. About 70% of the graduating seniors go onto college of some sort. A good majority of the students would attend college in Ohio or Michigan - assorted state and private schools. The top 5 seniors of last year (one of who was my D!) went onto Ohio State, Miami, U of Mich and my D at a small private Ohio school. An occasional Ivy. Honestly, in my D's class case at least, it's not that students weren't selected to "prestigious" schools, they just didn't choose to apply.

    He is enjoying reading your responses so far...please anyone else has 2 cents, come forth!!! Tonight he emailed the director of curriculum and instruction for the school system to get his opinion....each high school I believe makes it's own policy here...
  • bluebayoubluebayou Registered User Posts: 26,266 Senior Member
    in a former life, I was involved in public health for the state, and we used to try (with little success) to get school districts to stop giving out awards for Perfect Attendance. Statistically, it is virtually impossible for a kid not to get sick, and any policy that rewards attendance of sick kids is bad for the well kids, not to mention the faculty & staff. And, of course, sick teachers mean subs, and increased costs to the district.

    It's just Health Ed 101.
  • fendrockfendrock Registered User Posts: 3,181 Senior Member
    I'm responding from Massachusetts, and I've never heard of exam exemptions.

    At my daughters' high school, exams count for 20% of the final grade, for all courses. They are scheduled for the last week of each semester. If a student wants to leave early for the summer, makeups must be rescheduled AFTER the school year, which furthers discourages anyone from missing them.

    Seniors here finish about three weeks earlier than the rest of the school, and do not take exams.

    Requiring exams is part of having high expectations of the students. There is no logical reason to tie school attendance to an exam exemption; the purpose of an exam is to test students on the material, and perfect attendance is no indication at all of whether the material has been learned.
  • ChedvaChedva Super Moderator Posts: 30,218 Super Moderator
    fendrock, I'm from MA as well and we have exactly the same exam situation. Second-semester seniors do not take finals; they do take midterms and finals for first-semester courses. Make up exams are given at the beginning of the next school year. The only other "exemptions" are teacher-specific for courses that do not lend themselves to exams - usually art or theater electives.
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