Fin de finals

Testing+out+%5C%5C+For+the+first+time+ever%2C+WISD+has+eliminated+final+exams%3B+however%2C+teachers+may+still+give+a+test+that+will+count+as+a+major+grade+in+place+of+a+final+exam.

photo credit: Sammy Walters

Testing out \\ For the first time ever, WISD has eliminated final exams; however, teachers may still give a test that will count as a major grade in place of a final exam.

writer: Lauren West, Staff Reporter

New school policy demotes final exams to major grades

Following the end of the third nine weeks, the Secondary Steering Committee decided that there will no longer be semester exams in Wylie ISD beginning this semester.

The new policy the committee instigated removes the final exam that typically counts for 15 percent of the student’s grade, however the teacher may choose to still give a summative exam but it will count as a major grade only and retakes will be available for those who need them.

“The committee felt that because our unit assessments tell us whether a student has achieved mastery or not and because our students already face many high stakes assessments at the end of the year, giving one more exam (a final exam) was not necessary,” Kerry Gain, the director of curriculum, said.

The unit assessments have been in use for three years in most core classes as part of the C-SCOPE curriculum the district uses.

“Kids learn by repetition and the reviewing for the final helps,” physics teacher David Shipp said.

Teachers will have the two weeks usually spent on reviews and exams added back into their schedules so that there is not as large a time crunch at the end of the year to finish the curriculum.

“I truly hope that these 10-15 days can be spread back through the various units of instruction and help with the time crunch so many of you [the teachers] are already feeling in getting through the curriculum,” Assistant Principal Keith Kirkpatrick said.

However, many teachers feel that since it is so late in the year it is already too late to spread the curriculum out.

“I wish we had known about this at the beginning of the year or even semester because now there is only one month left to ‘spread out our curriculum,’” journalism teacher Casi Thedford said.

By not allowing final exams to count for an overall 10 percent of our grade, the district is backtracking on their initiative of college readiness and preparation and is harming all students rather than helping them. ”

— Elisabeth Teitleman, junior

The committee also decided that as a reward for good attendance at the end of the year, juniors and seniors who qualify will still be able to receive exemptions from the exams.

“The juniors and seniors who qualify for exemptions will attend school for four hours and then leave once they have been in attendance for four hours,” Assistant Principal Shawn Miller said.

Students, such as juniors Catie Shirley and Elisabeth Teitleman, are concerned about how removing the high-stakes finals also takes away from the district’s college preparation initiative.

“We are aware that there are final exams in college so the school district is essentially putting us at a disadvantage for not having us take them,” Shirley said.

Shirley and Teitleman hope to have exams returned to their normal 15 percent weight with exemptions available to those who qualify, as well as the typical exam schedule.

“By not allowing final exams to count for an overall 10 percent of our grade, the district is backtracking on their initiative of college readiness and preparation and is harming all students rather than helping them,” Teitleman said.