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School board changes rules for taking final exams

TUES.| 11-01-22 | OPINION

     Students at public schools in the state are put in the position of taking an end-of-year exam. Certain classes have state-mandated North Carolina final exams you must take on exam week, but other courses have teacher-made exams that you take depending on your grade and attendance.

     In the 2021-22 school year, being our first year transitioning to normalcy since COVID-19, students were given the option of taking their teacher-made exam. This rule is the decision to take a teacher-made exam based on your academic track. The criteria was based on whether students had an A or B for their final grade, and with that A or B, they were exempt from the teacher-made final, unless choosing to take it. I find this rule very suitable for students who have been performing well grade-wise during the entirety of the course.  

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Graphic by Ginny Blount 

     Prior to 2020, and as of this 2022 school year, all teacher-made exams are based on class attendance, and your grade during the course. Students can earn exemptions from teacher-made exams if a student has an A and misses three or less classes. The other exemption is if a student has a B and misses two or less classes. I find this rule very invalid and illogical. I have missed more than three days for a semester-long course in the past year, in which I had an A or B average as well as an understanding of the course material. A teacher-made final is not going to change the fact that I still missed those days in the year, what matters is that I was doing well in class. 

     Many students may not be able to control whether they are absent or not due to family issues, illness or not being present for 60 minutes of instruction. Students make an effort to be present for class but if its under 60 minutes they are counted absent. My peers and I all have concerns on how unexused and excused absences go into effect for taking teacher made exams. The school board is telling me a doctors visit or a funeral absence accounts for days missed, and results in taking a required teacher made exam? I feel that the absence rule relating to taking teacher exams shouldn't matter if you are performing well in the course, especially with an A average. 

     I find that having the option of taking a teacher-made final based on your grade average is very important. Students shouldn't have to worry about being out for more than three days and how it could affect their grades. I find it appalling that missing more than two to three days could hinder your final grade due to a teacher-made exam at the end of the course. This one exam could change your entire grade for the year. I really hope the Pitt County Schools Board considers altering these rules of attendance put in place for this year for teacher made exams, as it may relieve the ongoing stress students already have this school year.

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