Students Exempt Final Tests of 2016

Best of the Bolts Offer Exemptions

Sophomore Bradlee Fritz examines the misprinted information with confusion.

Sophomore Bradlee Fritz examines the misprinted information with confusion.

Autumn Jenkins, Editor-in-Chief

While students may have visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads, looking towards the upcoming religious holidays, many face the final assessment of 2016: midterms.

Some, however, are taking advantage of the exemptions offered through Best of the Bolts.

Exam exemptions are earned by achieving Best of the Bolts for at least two consecutive quarters. For example, two gold cards in consecutive quarters earns a student two exam exemptions. Two green cards result in one exam exemption.

There was confusion over the information on the yellow reward sheet.  Ms. Patty Burkett (who was listed as a contact person) is retired. The sheet also told students to pick up the exemptions in January. However, exams are in December.  The information was simply misprinted, and exemptions can be picked up before exams. In previous years, midterms were not given until students returned from break.

“I like that the exams are before break because you get to review in class, whereas if you went on break, you’d just forget what you learned,” said senior Kylee Collins. Although Collins cannot exempt any of her midterm exams, she thinks the reward is, “good, because it relieves stress.”

Best of the Bolts cards are awarded based on grades, attendance, and behavior.

“[Exemptions] are good, because if people get good grades they should be able to exempt,” said junior Moriah Davis.

Many students have similar beliefs on the use of exam exemptions.

Sophomore Edward Hardaway thinks midterms are beneficial because students shouldn’t have to take a midterm for a class they are passing.

Teachers have varying opinions on exam exemptions.

“I have mixed feelings.  Chemistry is one of the hardest subjects for sophomores so logically I get a lot of exemptions.  I sometimes wonder if eliminating exams gets in the way of the goal of long term retention and allows more learn-it-and-forget-it academics.  I think there are students that have mastered the latter and use exam exemptions wisely to inflate their grade point average that doesn’t necessarily reflect their overall comprehension.  The state-tested subjects still have a comprehensive exam regardless, but we remove an amount of leverage for long term learning from other subjects by exempting exams.  I am also concerned about the transition to college exams that were extremely stressful times of life.  That was twenty-five years ago, so maybe college exam week has changed. On the flip side, the intent of the exemptions was to increase attendance and reduce behavior problems which contribute positively toward learning.  I think the program has a definite positive effect on attendance and possibly one on behavior. Attendance is one of the major factors in student achievement so therefore has a positive effect for the school.  The program has been around since I’ve been around so we really have no control to compare data. For me, it’s actually less work for a student with an exemption so I can deal with it either way.  I would like students to take at least one of the exams, but students are going to do what is in their perceived best interest.  If I was a student, I would do the same thing,” said chemistry teacher Mr. William Patrizio.

Whether or not students have exempted a midterm, they are expected to be present in class.