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Jefferson rejects skipping exams

November 15, 2000

Jefferson rejects skipping exams



By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town


CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Jefferson High School's practice of allowing students to skip semester exams in exchange for good attendance records has been voted down by the Jefferson County Board of Education.

For at least two years, Jefferson High students who missed four days or fewer of school and who maintained an 80 percent average in a course were allowed to skip the final semester exam in the class, said Jefferson County Board of Education spokeswoman Liz Thompson.

Of the school's population of about 1,500, between 600 and 650 students qualified for the exam exemptions, Thompson said.

Since the incentive program started, the School Board passed a new policy regarding attendance incentive programs, Thompson said.

Under the policy, any attendance incentive policy drafted by a school that conflicts with any other policy of the board's must be approved by the Board of Education, Thompson said.

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Jefferson High School officials had to ask the board for approval of its incentive program since there is a board policy that requires all students to take final semester exams, Thompson said.

The Jefferson County Board of Education voted against the request to continue the incentive program by a 3-2 vote last Wednesday.

Board President C. Larry Togans, who voted along with Peter Morgens and Paul Manzuk to reject the program, said he realizes his vote was not popular with students and staff at the high school.

Togans said he didn't like the idea of students missing final semester exams. He said he also did not like the fact that students who qualified for the incentives were able to take the day off from school.

"If they're going out to college or even work, they will have to take some type of exam. You need that practice or that competitive edge," Togans said.

Board members Doris Cline and Pete Dougherty voted to keep the incentive program.

Jefferson High School Principal Edna Rothwell declined to comment on the board's action. Rothwell said there are a number of approaches that can be used entice students to keep good attendance records, and the school staff will study other possibilities, Rothwell said.

In Berkeley County Schools, students are not offered such incentives, said Frank Aliveto, deputy superintendent of schools. The only incentive offered to students for good attendance is a chance to improve their semester test scores, Aliveto said.

If Berkeley County students miss fewer than six days for a class, 10 percentage points are added to their test scores, Aliveto said.

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