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Mysterious exam policy benefits no one

By Staff | May 1, 2015

Teachers and guidance officials at Jefferson High School were told last week that a policy is in place with no exceptions, that students who may miss exam week for whatever reason, will receive zeros on those exams with any possible make up time being in August of next year.

As a parent of two students at JHS, and one who has scheduled a family trip that same week (using the school calendar available in December when I made my plans), I could not believe what my daughters were telling me. No such information had been shared with parents and I thought surely it was a mistake. Imagine my frustration to find out from school administrators that it was not.

After speaking with the administration at the school, who “understood my concerns” but who also said it was a policy issued by the board of education, I attempted to find a copy of the policy or at least speak to whomever created it. There began greater frustration as no one had such a policy in writing, nor would anyone admit to creating it.

Speaking at the Board of Education meeting Monday evening, I outlined concerns about such a policy to a board who indicated they had no knowledge of the policy, despite school administrators attributing it to them. Those concerns are many.

The “policy” that students will take a zero on every exam and not be able to make them up until August goes against the county’s own policy of one day to make up for each day absent. This policy would require over two months before a make up coupled with the fact that all books would have already have been turned in.

This allocation of zeros will drop any given students grades by two letters. This is a disservice to hard working students and frankly, wrong! It can cause lasting detrimental effects for scholarship and college applications.

What also drew great concern was the blatant statement by the school administration that no early exams could be given because students would cheat. Frankly, to have an administrator or any leader in education assume that any given student is going to cheat is again an insult to our county’s hard working students. A premise of “guilty until proven innocent” if you will.

Any policy adoption that can, and likely will, have such far-reaching consequences for students needs to be vetted, provided to parents and not put into place until a year out because individuals who have scheduled activities for a week that was not part of the school calendar cannot change them at this late a date. A policy this detrimental should not even be considered at all, nor should the assumption that any student affected will cheat on their exams. Being proactive in completely tests and assignments ahead of time is a responsible way to behave and school administrators should see it as such.

Let’s hope the Superintendent and Board of Education members see the harm in this approach to the end of the school year and have faith in their students and parents.