Editorial: Final exemption requirements too strict

District should reconsider absences, inconsistencies


Margaret Edmonson via Canva

Final exams take place at the end of each school year. Students can be exempt based on these guidelines.

Alex Whelchel, Staff Writer

Students look forward to one thing every year: the last day of school. But this doesn’t come without the stress of seven finals in three days. The best way to avoid these exams is to exempt, but not all students meet the requirements.

The school district should reduce the requirements for final exemptions.

Exemption requirements include having a minimum of 85% in the class, no referrals for suspension or Comal Discipline Center, no more than three absences per class in the spring semester, no more than three tardies per class, issued no more than 10 temporary IDs (for the year) and no outstanding fees. Final exams count for 10 percent of the final grade.

The majority of these rules are fair, such as the suspensions and outstanding fees, but the maximum number of absences allowed is absurd. Although this rule excludes college visits and school sponsored events, students cannot always avoid being absent. Students don’t control when they get sick or when they have no way to get to school. Some might need to work during the school day to help provide for their families.

Exemptions in Advanced Placement classes are harder to achieve as getting an 85% is more difficult than an on-level class. These students put extra time in and outside of class to achieve their high grades. This is unfair to students who are doing just as much, if not more, work for their classes, just for them to have to take the final anyway.

For the past four years, the way exemptions have been handled has not been linear. Prior to Covid, only juniors and seniors were eligible to be exempt. In 2020, finals were canceled because of Covid-19; in the aftermath of it, all students could be exempt in 2021. This past year, exemptions returned to where only juniors and seniors could exempt. Now in 2023, every student is eligible again. This constant change in requirements makes exemptions unclear and confusing.

Supporters of the existing policy say that being able to exempt final exams is a privilege and not every student deserves the right. However, considering how little these exams impact one’s grade, it’s easy to deduce they are not as important as they are made out to be. Because of this, it should not be as difficult as it is to avoid them.

Exemptions should be available as long as the student is passing the class and has received no suspensions. The school district should loosen the requirements for final exemptions.