Setting the record straight on exemption policy rurmors

Kelly Gallagher Mercedes Ordonez

     Rumors have been circulating around the school that the school district is considering a policy change that would  require all students to take at least one final per year for each class. School officials considered a change in policy because many believe that the current exemption policy is not adequately preparing students for college. As more and more ways to exempt an exam were added to the policy, the district was concerned that the original intent of incentivizing attendance was being deluded. With the current policy it is possible that a student could complete high school without ever taking a final if this student maintained a good attendance record, achieved commended scores on TAKS and exempted finals by taking AP tests. Because of these concerns, a process improvement team was devised to examine and make recommendations to the policy. However, this exemption policy will not be put into effect this year, as the decision was made not to change the existing policy at this time.

     This would be especially upsetting to AP students because in the past taking an AP test exempted students from their spring final, a test that could potentially affect their GPA. When students were asked what they thought of the possible change in policy, their reactions varied little.

     “I don’t really agree with [a change in] policy because [students] take an AP test which is basically like a super-final that’s four hours and if [a final] is going to prepare us for college then a four hour long test should also prepare us.” Brett Ferdinand, senior said.

     The policy change that was considered this year was to require all students to take eight finals in the fall and be able to exempt up to eight finals in the spring. This policy change was not adopted.

      “If the [the policy was] passed, then [would] not take as many AP classes because I don’t want to have to take two finals when I should only have to take one.” Lexi Brown, freshmen said.

     Many teachers also had concerns about a possible change in policy.

      “I can see that it is important for students to get used to final exams for college, however, the AP exam is twice as and long and much more difficult than any final exam I would give,” Michelle Iskra, AP English IV teacher, said. 

     Although these rumors of a change in Cedar Park’s exemption policy seemed to spread across the school, no change has been made. Furthermore, Principal Spelman has suggested that the exemption policy will not change until it becomes irrelevant when the state mandates end of course exams. For now, students can rest easy knowing that they will not have to take extra tests during this school year.