What Would You Do: High School Final Exam Policies

Do you have a family rule that overrides your high school’s policy on final exams?

If a high school student has an “A” or “B” average in a class, should he or she be allowed to skip the final exam? 

Final exam policies may not be in the best interest of a college-bound student.As I stood in the packed commons area of my son’s high school listening to the assistant principal run through the school’s final exam policies (including attendance and exams), I found myself questioning the logic in the exemption policy.

If I were a student, I’d love it: if you have  A or B average and have not missed a single class, you do not have to take the final. Students can opt to take the final (in case you want to try to raise a B to an A) but it’s not required if the above conditions are met.

As a parent and founder of a business focused on helping kids with college search, I found myself questioning whether this was the best college prep policy. Following the presentation, I met up with two parents who are faculty members at one of the universities in our area and who also have a son entering the high school freshman class. I asked them what the thought of the school’s final exam policies.

Neither were fans and, having gone through this before with an older son, they had developed their own “family rules” policy where there is no exemption for a “B” grade. Their policy is that they will let their son be exempt from the exam only if he has an “A” average and has not missed a class.

Thanks to them, I realized what had really been bugging me. It was the inclusion of a B-level grade in the exemption policy. I appreciate these parents and their family rule. They’ve set the bar a little higher for their kids.  As professors, they know first-hand how competitive getting into college can be and that for high-demand majors, an above average grade won’t make the cut.

As a parent, what would you do if your high school had this policy? Do you have a family rule that overrides the school policy? Please share your comments below.


Z. Kelly Queijo is founder of Smart College Visit and parent of two teens.