New exemption policy offered to students


Senior Lilly Mitchell compares the old exemption policy she was used to to the new one.

Nadeen Al-Ostaz, Staff Writer

A new exemption policy for semester exams was put in place for students this school year in order to maximize student efforts concerning their work and attendance in school.

The new policy states that in order for students to exempt their exams this semester, they must have never attended ISS or been suspended from school, they can not possess over three tardies, one unexcused absences, six unexcused absences for those with “A” semester averages, three excused absences with “B” semester averages, or two excused absences for “C” semester averages.

“I didn’t think our exemption policy encompassed all of the areas that it needed to in order to be most effective for our school,” Principal Bradley Roberson said. “Our old exemption policy basically considered your class grade or whether or not you had perfect attendance, and that was it. There was really no other stipulations on a student being exempt. I wanted to put an exemption policy in place that tied more of the factors that make a student successful in school.”

The new policy embodies more aspects that would allow a student to prosper in their high school career and future, such as attendance and student discipline. It also does not have a limit to the amount of exemptions offered to students, unlike last year. Students, such as junior Maggie Livingston, are excited for the possibility of not having to taking any exams.

“I think it’s really good,” Livingston said. “My old school had [unlimited exemptions], so it really helps me not having to stress for exams.”

On the other hand, some students worry that this may have a toll on them.

“I think unlimited exemptions might not be preparing you well for college,” sophomore Camille White said. “If you can exempt every single class because you have a good grade in there, when you go to college, no matter what your grade is, you have to take all of your exams nonetheless.”

Roberson took this into account and asked teachers to still prepare students for college by giving them other assessments similar to their semester exams throughout the course of the year rather than the end of the semester to see how they are doing in their classes.

“There is no reason our teachers can’t give cumulative summative assessments now,” Roberson said. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be a semester exam for a teacher to give a summative assessment, so I’ve asked them to give cumulative assessments in their class as a regular practice, and it not end up counting twenty percent of their grade.”

Juniors, sophomores, and freshman are excited about unlimited exemptions, while seniors felt that it was a privilege since, in the past, they were the only ones able to exempt an unlimited amount of exams if they met the criteria.

“Being a senior, I don’t think it’s fair that everyone has unlimited [exemptions],” senior Lily Mitchell said, “because I kind of feel like that’s something you work up to.”

Roberson believes it will take until after this semester for students to adjust to the new policy. He does not expect as many exemptions as there normally have been in the past because of the higher requirements put into place, but he looks forward to seeing how the new exemption policy plays out with the students.

“Success, to me, is not the number of kids exempting exams. Success, to me, means that our students are performing better and are learning more throughout the school day,” Roberson said. “So our success will not be measured on the number of students that are exempt from assessments. Our success will be measured on how we are performing.”