Exemption Policy Still in Need of Minor Fix


©The Talon News | Christopher Piel

Student takes a STAAR practice test to prepare for the upcoming test in the spring on Dec. 12, 2016 (Christopher Piel/The Talon News)

Christopher Piel, Sport Editor

Once again, the administration will be allowing students to exempt their final exams if they have proper grades and limited absences. However, there is one exception to their policy: classes that will have a STAAR test in the spring are not available for exemptions. This is one of the few flaws in the policy that should be altered to allow all classes to be exempt.

The exemption policy has led to improvement in attendance. The motivation of not having to take final exams leads students to do their very best to come to class everyday. The rewards of perfect attendance are very much worth the cost of showing up everyday. However, students may not exempt classes that have a STAAR exam in the spring. For these classes, students are not driven to show up by the reward of no final exam because no matter their grade or attendance, they have to take the test, regardless. If the administration is looking to continue to improve attendance, opening up the exemption policy would be a great way that would bring about significant and immediate results.

The exam at the end of the first semester is not helping students on their STAAR tests. One exam taken months before the STAAR test is not preparing students in the slightest. For the most part, students have been taking STAAR tests since the third grade; they are more than familiar with the test that awaits them in the spring. Also, the teachers are not required to give an exam that resembles the STAAR test. Therefore, in an English or history class, an exam could simply be over the last fiction book the students read or last history chapter they reviewed. The notion that a final exam could make a big enough impact on STAAR scores is not worth the economic negatives that the school will face because of lesser attendance.

At the end of the day, the exemption policy is great, and it has already paid dividends for attendance, but this one alteration could further improve attendance. With the minor change of opening up the jurisdiction of the exam policy over those classes with a STAAR test at the end of the year, there could be another spike in attendance, not to mention the approval that would come from the students. The administration should give this policy a try in the future to promote a better turn out in attendance with few drawbacks.