By: Mariana DeJesus
As each semester comes to an end, the presence of a midterm or final exam raises the attention of both students and teachers. Right before a well-deserved break and after two quarters filled with assignments and grades, students get to look forward to having to sit through a round of exams. However, administration has taken steps to make the challenging times of exam week less of a burden for both students and teachers.
The opportunity to fill out an exemption form allows each student the chance to opt out of taking three-course exams as long as the student has maintained a grade higher than 80% for both the first and second quarters of the semester. Majority of students are able to participate in this incentive and avoid having to take all of their exams. This allows students to concentrate more on the classes in which they want to improve their semester grade and their grade point average (GPA). The idea behind the exemption opportunity can be attributed to motivating students to do well in their classes
so that when the opportunity arises, they can avoid having to sit through another test.
Being able to exempt an exam not only lightens the students’ workload, but also that of the educators. Each quarter is filled with lesson plans and assignments that are designed for a student’s success in the course. Many teachers work hard, distributing countless assignments and tests, all for the students’ benefit. However, these assignments are not being graded on their own. The same effort it took to create an exam or assignment, must be reciprocated when the teacher has to grade them. After months of countless grading, teachers can celebrate their students’ success in their class when the students’ hard work allows them to exempt that teacher’s exam. Since their students did so well on their tests throughout the semester, they can enjoy the rewards of exemptions by having fewer tests to grade. Making it less stressful when getting grades in before school ends or having to worry about finalizing their work responsibilities before the break. Teachers are also able to focus on the few students who may not have been able to exempt their exams. There are more opportunities for the teacher to help students who truly need it now that they do not have to worry about students who opted from taking the exam.
Some may argue that a quarter grade is not a true representation of the student’s knowledge of that subject because the tests are supported by other assignments. The argument implies that the students’ true grade is in the average of the tests taken throughout the quarter. Although the argument is valid from one perspective, the assignments completed during that time were not for nothing. The assignments stand as work completed by the student and graded by the teacher, all part of the student’s curriculum. Additional assignments besides exams allow for diverse learning opportunities and for different learning styles to thrive. Removing the additional assignments from a student’s grade would leave the students who struggle taking exams with a bad representation of their true knowledge of that subject.
The option to exempt exams stands as one of the key elements for many of the students’ academic success. Having the option to only exempt a maximum of three classes helps the student maintain balance between the tests they will have to study for and the tests that they will not have to. Students who utilize the opportunity to be exempt, understand how valuable it is to have fewer exams to worry about. Having understood this feeling, many will continue to be motivated to do well in their classes throughout the year in order to enjoy the opportunity of being exempt from an exam. Which promotes academically successful individuals. Exemptions make exam week less stressful for students while simultaniously bringing benefits to both students and teachers.