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  #1  
Old 01-08-2014, 03:48 PM
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Default Opinions? - School test policy

Ok, this might be a stretch if your kids are younger. But maybe you can remember from your own school days for thoughts if that's where you are.

So our high school started a new policy that if you have decent grades and few absences, you can skip semester finals. It's to encourage kids not to skip and eventually drop out. Here's some of the details if interested:

Quote:
All students are required to take final examinations in every class at the end of each semester. Students may, however, earn an exemption from the semester assessment for a particular class during the week of the scheduled final assessment time slot if they meet the following criteria:

1. No unexcused absences.

2. Three tardies in a class will equal one unexcused absence for this policy.

3. No more than 4 excused absences and a grade of A or

4. No more than 3 excused absences and a grade of B or

5. No more than 2 excused absences and a grade of C.

6. Students who have a D or who are failing must take the final.
They also say "Students planning to attend college are encouraged to take semester assessments even if exempt."

Our freshman has no absences and almost all A's at the moment, and of course wants to skip all the finals. He has a lot of talent and wants to go to college, no question on that. I think the practice of finals is good, also think reward for good work is good. If he takes them, it can only improve his grade, not hurt it.

I'm (still need to get my wife's thoughts on it) contemplating whether to make him take finals or just strongly encourage it (that part's already done!).
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Old 01-08-2014, 04:44 PM
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The only thing similar to this that I encountered was in college there were 2 classes offering the deal that if you have an A going into the final you were exempt from the cumulative final. I benefited from that deal both times!! I guess it assumes you have mastered the material. I assume that this is NOT a state/county wide program. Would potential colleges weigh your child's grades differently if they know about this program?
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Old 01-08-2014, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark B. View Post
I assume that this is NOT a state/county wide program. Would potential colleges weigh your child's grades differently if they know about this program?
No, just this school as far as I know. It had the highest dropout rate in the state for a while, guessing that's part of the motivation. Good question on how colleges see it weighing grades. If they don't know about it, they might soon as my son's on a teen panel at the newspaper and is writing a story on this ironically, hehe. I asked him last night, what if a college interviewer asked him about it, what did he decide to do? If he says I skipped them all, doesn't sound good. And takes away from the weight of grades as you say Mark.
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Old 01-08-2014, 05:07 PM
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We had something similar in high school. If I remember right, they started this my sophomore year. Juniors and seniors were allowed to skip a final if:

1. The teacher allowed it for the class.
2. An overall "A" in the class.
3. Some amount of attendance policy was involved.

In college, I had a genetics professor that made the final exam optional. The exam was one very long genetics problem with one result. Pass or Fail. If you passed, you were raised a letter grade. He allowed you two chances--one at the scheduled exam time, and one on the following Saturday. I finished it in about 3 hours (and I was the second guy to finish) and got an "A" in the class.

I really admired his teaching style. After 14 years, I still retain quite a bit from that class.
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Old 01-08-2014, 06:49 PM
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If it can help a grade he should probably take it. Like they said, colleges like that stuff. Just point out what a no-stress opportunity for bonus points it is.

If he already has the max grade in more than one class. I would let him skip one of his choosing. In reality, I'd probably let him skip one anyway as a reward for a job well done.
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Old 01-08-2014, 07:44 PM
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When I taught we had similar policies. Not sure how the grades are weighted but here, unless a kid was right on the border (withing a point or 2) of the next grade there wasn't a use for taking the exam. All colleges see at the end of the day is the A or B on the transcript, they don't see how it got there. If he has an A he can't get a higher grade so I would say reward him.
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Old 01-10-2014, 01:26 AM
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I spent time working in the admissions office at a state university, and they didn't even look at grades. They just checked core credit hours and cumulative GPA.

However, I also worked on scholarship, grant, and specialized loan paperwork. I didn't make the decisions, but I packaged the applications to speed up the decision process. Most of the ones that asked for letters or papers had a literal checklist for me to tag or highlight of things like interest in learning and signs of motivation.

Unless they're going to Harvard, admissions won't care. But, anything above required classwork can mean cheaper education. This is especially true in private colleges. Their scholarships are crazy. I have a former trombone student that is going to a private school without a music major who is getting 8,000 in scholarships just because they were in a jazz band in High School and they play in the university marching band.
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Old 01-10-2014, 03:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dlperkins2 View Post
Most of the ones that asked for letters or papers had a literal checklist for me to tag or highlight of things like interest in learning and signs of motivation.

Unless they're going to Harvard, admissions won't care. But, anything above required classwork can mean cheaper education.
Yeah, anything he'd have trouble getting into we probably couldn't afford. We're all about figuring out how to help him get scholarships though. If you have any memories dl about what they had you look for to show the interest or motivation part, I'd love to hear about it. I figure that's one of my main roles as a SAHD at this stage, to help him got some scholarships.
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Old 01-11-2014, 02:21 AM
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In most of the apps and letters it was being in clubs, but the ones went to the top were ones with positions in those clubs. If your in a bunch of extra-curriculars you have time management and organization; but, if you were president, first chair, patrol leader, JROTC captain you're driven and a leader.

If you spend a few days hunting online there are a lot of scholarships not tied to a specific institution that you just write a letter or paper to and the most impressive gets the money.

Once a school is chosen contact the departments their degree will come from and ask them what they have to offer.
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Old 01-11-2014, 02:46 AM
silviomossa silviomossa is offline
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I don't see how a college, especially any mid/large ones that process thousands of applications, would ever know such a thing. Therefore, I don't think that's an issue.

I look at is as a reward that the kid has earned. If he wants to take it, IMO, that's his call. Speaking as a teacher, I cannot think of any final exam that would improve the student, academically or morally, but I'm not big on testing, so take that with a grain of salt if you like.
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