Wake Ed

More exams eligible for Wake County senior exemptions

One result of the Wake County school system not having to offer the N.C. Final Exams this semester is that it means more chances for students to get senior exemptions to skip taking those tests.

Last week, the state Board of Education gave Wake permission to drop more than two dozen state-written science, social studies and history tests given in elementary, middle, and high schools that were to be used in teacher evaluations. Wake will now use locally developed final exams that schools were told in January to be ready to begin developing if the waiver was granted.

The reason cited by Wake for the waiver request was lost instructional time, difficult logistics, and an assertion that the state’s tests do not match what students are learning in class. But the change also impacts senior exemptions.

Depending on the number of absences and the average in that class, seniors can get exempted from taking final exams. It’s one of the ways that Wake tries to combat senioritis that might see seniors skipping school, especially in the spring semester with graduation in sight.

Senior exemptions could not be offered pn the state-developed final exams. But school officials say the locally developed final exams are eligible for senior exemptions. For instance, seniors can get exemptions to skip the local English Language Arts IV final exam that wasn’t allowed on the state exam.

Senior exemptions are a big deal, which is why students objected to the idea of cutting into spring break for makeup days. To reassure those students, Wake isn’t counting absences on the spring break makeup days toward the senior exemption total.

The state waiver only applies for this school year.