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Opinion: Reconsider finals policy for seniors

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For the class of 2017, May 1 was the day dreams are made of: the last day of school for seniors. Civic Memorial seniors typically get out about a week ahead of graduation.

However, May 1 didn’t mark the end of this chapter for all members of the class of 2017. Some have to report back May 2 and 3 because of the f word: Finals.

The credentials to avoid taking finals are as such: five or fewer absences, three or fewer tardies, no disciplinary referrals, and a C average or better in the given course.

The Eaglet disagrees with this policy. It is nonsensical to let school behavior and attendance influence grades. Students’ grades should reflect their ability to meet an academic standard by demonstrating content knowledge at a certain level, or successfully completing a performance task. Behaviors—which are what attendance, tardies, and office referrals measure—should not play into that.

Let’s consider the following scenario: Little Joey has a 72% in a dual-credit college course. But he has to take the final exam because he has had four tardies. Joey is a decent student, but not a strong test-taker, and he bombs the final. His grade drops to a D, and he no longer receives college credit for the course. He now has a D on his college transcript and has to pay to take this course in college, which proves to be quite costly. Granted, Joey needs to learn to be more punctual. But how does taking finals teach him this lesson? Is it a fair “punishment” that he now has to pay hundreds of dollars to take this course in college?

Under the current policy, seniors can pay a hefty price because their alarm doesn’t go off a couple of times or they have car trouble. It just doesn’t seem logical for their grades to potentially suffer because of these situations. What about a student who has the flu or a bout of mono and is out for more than five days because of illness? How is it sensible for them to be punished academically for being sick?

Let’s revise the finals policy so that it is based on academics. Those with a C or better don’t have to take a final, unless they choose to do so to try and raise their grade in a class.

It is understandable that the school wants to encourage good attendance and behavior in seniors who might be inclined to slack off in the last few weeks of school. But instead of being exempt from finals, a better incentive for attendance and behavior would be to use those standards as a requirement for eligibility to attend a senior trip to Six Flags or The City Museum. The Eaglet hopes the finals policy for seniors is examined and changed.

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