The end of the exemption

The end of the exemption

Rachel Weathers, Memorial Editor

As each semester comes to a close, high school students across Edmond Public Schools (EPS) begin studying day in and day out in preparation for their final exams. Finals can be an incredibly stressful time as one may have up to seven exams over two school-days. Therefore, an exemption from one final exam can help alleviate some of the pressures that come along with the week. 

Previously, students have been able to earn an exemption under the condition that they have no more than three absences in any class and no more than three tardies in all classes. Once the exemption was earned, based on attendance, there was an academic qualification to implement the exemption. This required a grade of at least 80 percent in the class the student is choosing to exempt. 

Because of changes to EPS’ attendance policy, as a result of COVID-19, attendance incentives were removed, including the final exam exemption. 

Since the beginning of the semester, this has caused many students to be displeased. In the past, exemptions had been earned throughout the semester and reflected one’s attentiveness to their schoolwork. Now the exemption is gone at what has been the most unusual school year yet. The removal of attendance incentives is understandable and necessary to deter students from coming to school if they feel unwell. Therefore, it was no surprise that this aspect of qualifying for an exemption was removed. 

However, there were two parts to receiving an exemption and when one was eliminated, the whole exemption itself was gone entirely. This caused many to wonder why can’t final exam exceptions be solely academic-based for this school year? 

Having grade based exemptions would allow students to still be held to the equivalent academic standards as before and would reward them for their work throughout this abnormal semester. If a student has upheld their grades until this point in the year, that should demonstrate mastery of the concepts covered in class. Therefore, making one eligible for an exemption. 

This would relieve students of some stressors that the end of the semester creates, such as trying to keep a borderline grade from falling as a result of the final exam. For many students, this was why the exemption held such importance

In the past, this was one benefit of the exemption as it allowed a student to maintain their grade as what they achieved during the semester prior to the semester final. This helped to prevent certain test anxieties from impacting performance on the exam and ultimately one’s overall grade in a course. 

Exemptions remain a helpful privilege, but not something that extends past the high school level. Therefore, by not having an exemption, students could potentially better prepare for the next level of education and fine-tune their time management skills. For this reason, the decision made by EPS could help students future success and make the transition to college more seamless. 

With only days until final exams begin, EPS will likely not be amending the current policy for this semester. Given the circumstances students are currently facing of learning and trying to live relatively normally amid a pandemic, many are doing the best they can. Although the decision to eliminate the exemption is disappointing, this is just another aspect of the year that everyone will have to adjust to. 

Contact Rachel Weathers at [email protected]