Starting this year, SIS has implemented a new makeup policy in order to prevent deliberate absentees from gaining an advantage on tests. Unless rescheduled in advance, the test must either be taken the following day or taken after school if the students come later in the day. According to Gray Macklin, high school vice principal, this policy change has propelled students to avoid missing tests because they use up precious time when they stay after school to make up for their summative exams.
“Over the last several years, one of the [qualities]that have been evident in the attendance state is that there are a number of students who take on too much in order to help manage their workload,” Mr. Macklin said. “They selectively miss certain assessments that they’re not ready for. The analogy I frequently use for this situation is that students want to juggle five balls but also wish to be able to drop one ball at any given time and still say that they’re juggling five balls. If you’re dropping one ball, letting it bounce, and then picking it up later, that’s not juggling. That’s dropping the ball.”
This change in regulations has received both positive and negative feedback from the student body. Some feel that the change has been ineffective in terms of clarity, while others remark that it is a relatively fair replacement of the preceding policy, where a makeup date had to be negotiated between teachers and students.
“I see the rule as SIS’ remedy for preventing students from intentionally skipping school,” said Alicia Chung (11), who has had experience with the new makeup policy. “However, with regards to clarity issues, it doesn’t seem that effective of a change. Students could previously ask their actual teacher questions if they were confused, but when I went to make up my exam, [clarification]wasn’t possible since I took the test in a different classroom with a proctor. Although this isn’t always the case, the policy still has some potential to cause confusion among test takers.”
Whether the test makeup policy is truly effectual still remains to be seen, as evinced in the fact that a divide in opinion exists. However, the newly adopted rule is indeed being seen as an innovative attempt by the administration to improve attendance and lessen the burden on teachers who previously had to create more test versions for their absentees. In fact, the high school office has already observed a change in attendance rates.
“Missing the test simply costs too much,” Mr. Macklin further remarked. “A few weeks ago, when the college apps were due, there were a lot of students who were absent for good portions of the day but came in for their tests. The price of missing exams was too great. There is an economy for students and how they interact with their responsibilities, expectations, and goals. If we are able to make it cost too much for them to miss, then they’ll be here.”