Senior Speculation: Exam Exemption Expectation


By Tasha Walker |

Every year as midterms approach, there is always the same similar hubbub among the senior class about exam exemptions. Students await their semester grades that will determine if they have to take the exam or not. This years senior class has an especially unique situation, considering that last spring students were exempt from finals with a grade of an 85. This opportunity was given due to having been the first class to have to complete the Junior Portfolio. It was somewhat of a reward for handling the stressful situation/endeavor so well.

Kelly Thompson
Kelly Thompson

Exam exemptions seem to have influenced seniors in a positive way. Kelly Thompson shared, “It has motivated me to do well, although getting a 90 in some classes is more difficult than I thought.” As Thompson said, getting an A- is easier said than done, but it is definitely important to keep students on their A game while preparing for and applying to college.

Catie Lemontague brings up an important point about honors students. “I believe that if you are in a higher level class you shouldn’t have to achieve the same grade as a student in a college prep class. An 85 would be more reasonable at the honors level.” It is much more difficult to get a 90 in an honors course verses a 90 in a college prep class, especially with “senioritis” setting in before and after the holiday break.

Although some students complain about the difficulty of reaching a 90 semester average, Megan Quinn has a much simpler view on the exam exemption expectation. “I think that it’s a privilege and a nice thing that the school does for us.”  Some school do not give the option. Charlie Bencivengo agrees with the exam exemption policy: “I think 90 is a reasonable expectation.”

There is also some controversy among teachers in regards to the exam exemptions. Math teacher Ms.


White shares, “I support it if a student works hard up to it and has shown that they have mastered the material beforehand.” Spanish teacher Mrs. Luther, however, teachers AP Spanish to the Seniors and has all of her students take the midterm regardless of their grade. “I do not allow my A.P. students to be exempt because they need to prepare for the A.P. exam. However, they are all exempt from the final whether or not they meet the expectation of a 90” she says. Charlotte Limosani, who is in this class, shared with me her opinion on Mrs. Luther’s decision to make all students take the midterm regardless of their grade. “I don’t think that it’s a bad thing because she prepares us very well for the midterm and it is going to help us in the future when we have to take the AP exam.” In this case, it seems that Mrs. Luther has made a good judgment call!

Lastly I asked art teacher Mrs. Neri to share her opinion upon the subject. “I approve of exempting seniors with a 90 average. I think it’s a good motivator for seniors to continue to do their best throughout their last year.” Mrs. Neri is definitely correct. After getting accepted into college, students may develop a false sense of security and begin to slack. Motivation to be exempt from midterms as well as finals will keep seniors and their grades sharp throughout the year!