Germantown revises exam exemption policy

By , Daily Memphian Updated: March 09, 2020 3:11 PM CT | Published: March 08, 2020 5:52 PM CT

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Germantown students who have an A average will be exempt from exams at the end of the semester.

The suburban district’s Board of Education revised the district’s grading policy and exam exemptions in a special called meeting Friday, March 6.

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“In light of the current coronavirus pandemic, we want to remove all incentives for children who are sick to come to school,” Superintendent Jason Manuel said.

The policy formerly said students with an A average and five excused absences or fewer were excused from end-of-semester exams. The board at the March 6 meeting suspended the number of absences phrase from the policy for the remainder of the semester. It will review the policy at the end of the academic year.

The policy does not apply to TNReady tests or AP tests required at the end of a course.

“This doesn’t just deal with coronavirus,” school board member Amy Eoff said. “We are not trying to add to hysteria here. … This has to do with keeping sick kids home.”

Other board members echoed the sentiment asking sick students to not expose others and said the flu has hit hard this year.

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Eoff thanked parent Mindy Fisher for stepping forward and addressing the topic at the regular March 3 GMSD meeting.

“I would respectfully ask the school board to review the policy that after five excused absences the student must take their exams,” Fisher said. “If a student has more than five excused absences and can maintain an A in the class, the student should still be able to qualify for an exemption on exams. To me, that child has worked even harder to have that A.”

Fisher said she understood the state mandates but the policy targeted the wrong segment of students and said the board should “reassess” after an email sent from the district advising students stay home if sick. 

“The purpose of this change is to encourage people who are not well to not attend,” school board member Angela Griffith said in the March 6 meeting.

“I think we have to weigh the advantages to taking exams against the incentives of not taking them because there are advantages to them learning to take exams in high school,” school board member Betsy Landers said.

Linda Fisher noted the policy has been revised multiple times since the district’s inception.

The board discussed revising exam exemptions when the policy is reviewed in a few months.


exam TNReady test Germantown Board of Education Germantown Municipal School District
Abigail Warren

Abigail Warren

Abigail Warren is a lifelong resident of Shelby County and a graduate of the University of Memphis. She has worked for several local publications and covers the suburbs for The Daily Memphian.


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