Should Seniors Have to Take Their Finals?

Kevin Wlosinski

Traditionally, senior exemptions have allowed for 12th graders to be exempt from the final exam if they are present a certain number of days in class. A student is eligible for exemptions if they have an A in the class and 3 excused absences, a B and 2 excused absences, or a C and 1 excused absence. Any unexcused absences will immediately disqualify a student for exemption eligibility. Are senior exemptions worth showing up to class almost everyday? PCNN decided to take a closer look at how the senior class feels about being exempt from their finals.

We started off by asking students what classes they were currently on track to be exempt for. Senior Weston Plunket hopes to be exempt from his ICM (Intro to College Math) class, as well as Sports Medicine 4. While the majority of seniors agree that exemptions are beneficial to their overall grade in the course, many of them have failed to meet the eligibility requirements.

Next, students were questioned about how the option to have exemptions has affected their class attendance. According to Brock Hattley, “it’s a lot better knowing if I come to class I will have an extra day off.” Several seniors are in agreement that it motivates them to come to class if they have a chance to be exempt from a test that carries such a heavy weight on their grade. On the contrary, others feel that their time is better spent outside of class for several days if they only have to show up for a couple hours to take the final exam.

In addition, we asked whether students thought that the number of days required to earn exemptions should increase or decrease. Kate Beard believes it should go up, because missing a handful of days is likely, with obligations such as “doctor appointments, and even factoring in mental health days.” A higher allowance of absences would certainly allow for more leniency in the schedule of students, especially the senior class who has to juggle the college application process along with work, sports, and other after-school activities that can be taxing on one’s time.

Furthermore, students were asked if they had the opportunity to start their senior year over, if they would try harder to get senior exemptions. Senior Evelyn Edwards is content with her exemption status and said “No, I wouldn’t change a thing.” Edwards also believes that exemption eligibility should be based solely on a student’s grade in the class, rather than the number of absences. However, Kate Beard wishes she had put in more effort by showing up to class because “it gives you a longer break” during exam week, and she hopes to work on her attendance for second semester.

In conclusion, students answered that they would spend the extra time off with a range of different responses. From relaxing and sleeping, to studying for an upcoming exam, and even indulging in a ski trip to the mountains, the senior class sure has their time off during exam week well thought out. Although the value of getting senior exemptions is controversial, it is ultimately up to the discretion of the student, and it certainly reaps its benefits for those who earn it.

All responses were from teachers at Panther Creek High School.