All I want for Christmas are exemptions

Paige Parks

It’s that time of year again, fellow Timberwolves. Finals week is approaching very quickly, with only a week left until the first day of exams. Along with finals comes exemptions, or for freshmen and sophomores, a lack of exemptions. A confusing new policy introduced last year has limited exemptions for underclassmen, and will be in effect for every incoming class from now on.

Sophomores and freshmen will receive exemptions based on attendance, but may only use them on elective classes. This forces them to take the finals in all core classes. And as if that weren’t enough, these tests will account for one-seventh of the students’ semester grade.

The exemption policy has introduced an unnecessary new policy to a class that has already been bombarded by the new addition of the STAAR test last year. The excuse for the introduction of this new policy is to prepare us for the end of course test that is a requirement for graduation, as if our teachers don’t prepare us enough. I understand the need to prepare us for the style of questions, but how are we to know if the same type will be featured on the STAAR, a test best known for being mysteriously secret.

The exemption policy should at least allow students to exempt a few of their core classes. This way, they get practice with the style of questions, but also won’t be forced to cram for multiple tests jam packed into one never-ending week. Also, teachers often prepare students with the type of questioning expected to be on the STAAR way ahead of time. By the time students take the STAAR test in spring, they have been practicing all year long.

Taking away the use of exemptions on core classes is a useless injury to the student body. Yes, it will prepare us for the end of course exam, but our teachers do that enough. And this causes added stress to students who already have a lot on their plate.