Lately, there has been a lot of talk about stopping senior exemptions — requiring seniors who in the past would not take final exams to take their exams. According to Dr. Muttillo, principal, there will be a change in exemptions, however not all classes will require an exam.
“Senior exemptions right now will still exist, but seniors will be asked to take exams they wouldn’t have had to take before, so I think just going to be limited opportunities for the exam exemption based on the courses that seniors are taking,” said Dr. Muttillo.
Previously, seniors could not be exempt if they were taking Algebra I, Biology, English I or any CTE course; all other classes allowed exemptions. Other classes are now being added to the list of non-exempt classes, including Pre-Calculus, Physics, Chemistry, Environmental sciences and eighteen other courses. These classes will require an exam for the second semester and beyond.
“I think it goes back to an overall shift in education where they want more and more not only student accountability but teacher accountability,” said Dr. Muttillo. “They want to measure on a consistent basis how students are doing and how well teachers are teaching.”
For example, all English IV classes have separate exams throughout the state and the board tries to compare those scores. “It was a way for the school board to standardize how students and teachers were being measured,” said Dr. Muttillo.
Although Dr. Muttillo has not heard many complaints, there are unhappy seniors who would like to stay exempt from next semester’s exams.
Dr. Muttillo understands how the students feel about the recent changes. “We’ve been seniors before, and we know especially that second semester of senior year you [seniors] all are getting ready for college. You don’t want to be in school, and the exemption policy was a way to come to school and do your best,” said Dr. Muttillo.
As a result of these changes, the teachers will have to grade more, students will start skipping classes and the graduation process will become more stressful. Spring semester English IV students will also be taking an exam first semester students will miss.
“I guess I can’t apologize for a decision that wasn’t ours, but we do feel bad for seniors,” said Dr. Muttillo. “Seniors deserve some privileges once they get there and we actually tried what we could to help you guys out, but it is a decision that is out of our control and we’ll see what the state decides for the future.”