As a means of inspiring student motivation and achieving higher grade point averages and better attendance, the Board of Education is considering allowing final exam exemptions for DCHS students.
Under the proposal, high school students would not be required to take final exams provided they met the following conditions:
*"A" average with no more than three excused absences
*"B" average with no more than two excused absences
*"C" average with no more than one excused absence
No exemption would be allowed for any unexcused absences. Five unexcused tardies equals one absence.
"We started looking at this a few years back. A lot of counties surrounding ours has gone to this to try to increase their attendance rates, their student GPA's, and academic grades. DCHS Principal Kathy Bryant and Assistant Principal Jenny Norris have called other counties and have gotten their break down on how they have done it over the past few years," said Director of Schools Patrick Cripps during Thursday night's monthly Board of Education meeting.
"We've met and researched and talked to these other counties and what the leadership team is proposing is that we offer an exemption policy for our students. If they have an "A" in the class they are allowed to have up to three excused absences. If they have a "B" they can have up to two excused absences or one excused with a "C". They have to be excused absences in order to be exempt from the exam. We're really hoping that this will improve our attendance rate," said Norris.
Fourth District Board member Kate Miller expressed concerns about the proposal. "This policy was in place when I was in high school and when I went to college I was not prepared for a final exam. I know there are more tests now but there is nothing like that high stress, high stakes test at the end. I know there are end of course exams and I think it would be reasonable to say that classes that have end of course exams, they could be exempt from the final exam because that is a duplication. But for the other classes, do we really need to exempt students who have a "C" average? Do they really understand the material like they should? I'm just concerned about that," said Miller.
"In the past there have been concerns about kids being prepared to take finals before when they do go to college but there are still mid terms that they (students) would be taking. You'll still have benchmark tests that kids will have to prepare for that's more than just the chapter test," said Cripps.
"And with all the state tests, they're going to have several tests. For example, this year our Juniors are going to be testing at least eight days," added Norris.
The School Board has delayed action on the request until a workshop can be held to discuss the issue further.
In other business, Director Cripps updated the board Thursday night on personnel moves since the last meeting.
Chasity Redmon has been employed as an educational assistant at Smithville Elementary School, replacing Kaci Miller.
W.C. Braswell from the Adult High School has been granted a leave as requested.
Sara Young from DCHS has been granted a leave as requested
Margaret Coyle, DeKalb Middle School, part time speech instructor has resigned.