We ended up excusing the final and giving him the "B" for the semester. We also talked about how going on vacations during finals week would not fly in the future.

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.

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@MFJohnston wrote:

If you want the students to actually learn the material ALEKS doesn't cut it.
I'm going to disagree with you there. ALEKS reinforces over and over again, not just a one-time pass like MatLab. Neither can replace an excellent instructor, but for kids who are visual learners, it's great.

Seriously, nobody cares that you're offended.

(Yes, I stole Hoju's tagline.)
Having taught students who aced the previous math course through ALEKS.....

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
@MFJohnston wrote:

I'm curious how folks outside the teaching world view this... It is a current dilemma I am having right now with a pre-calc student.

The student is a freshman in pre-calculus, so he is working three years above grade level. Up until last week, he was sitting on a 90% A- in class. He bombed the last unit exam of the semester (63%), moving his overall grade to an 85% B. He has not yet seen this score. We have one grade left this semester - the semester final, which is 20% of his grade. A strong "A" would put him back an an "A" in the course. A zero would put him at a "D." The real benefit of the final, however, is that it forces kids to review their entire first semester of learning, helping to put it into their long term memories. Our first unit second semester builds directly on the material from the exam he just tanked.

The issue is this; He told me last week that his family is going on a vacation and he will miss all of finals week. According to school board policy and state law, this is NOT an excused absence, so I have not legal obligation to allow him to make up the exam and can be completely justified in giving him a "zero" and a "D" for the semester. At the same time, his parents planned the vacation and not him. Making it more difficult, I do not have a two hour block of time before I must turn in first semester grades to allow him to take a final.

Note: Were this an excused absence, the school would give him an "incomplete" for the semester and would provide a time for him to take the missed exams. This is not an option as the absence is not excused.


As a high school teacher, here's what we have done- the kids have taken the test in the guidance office. Could you do that?

I didn't read the rest of it. It's good that you found a resolution!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/13/2019 05:59PM by Niner.
If I were a betting person, I would bet that this situation, minus names, will find its way into a policies handbook, the student code of behavior, or whatever you have there. If it is included early and at the beginning, then there should be fewer incidents in future in which anyone can get away with an iffy situation. This will make it easier to distinguish between actual urgencies, emergencies,and unavoidable situations that impact on student's lives.

I talked to the players and tried to make them aware of what was good and bad, but I didn't try to run their lives. - John Wooden
It is already there - as an "unexcused absence." That's why it was a headache. I had every right to give the kid a zero on the final, which would have landed him with a "D" for the semester.

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
I am glad you found a solution. A teacher of mine had the same dilemma. I had been sick for a month and the school policy was clear on that. Minimum marks to be awarded to a sick student after proper evaluation by a school physician. My teacher was very concerned since I had been a straight A student. She was able to get the Principal to agree on letting me take a test after I was able to attend school. I aced the test. Everyone was happy for me except a few students who thought it was unfair as I had more time to prepare. For heaven's sake, what time? I was sick! Respect for all the teachers out there who think about their students and their future.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/15/2019 10:46PM by Mum.
@Mum: A school policy that gave you poor marks for being ill?? In this state, that's illegal. (Of course, we can, and sometimes do, require notes from physicians.

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
@MFJohnston.. It was a very strict convent run by nuns. They had no empathy. Not even for a sick child. My mum thought it was considerate of them to give me a minimum and let me pass. I was grateful too. It was my teacher who said that it was unfair. The nuns who ran the school gave my dad a stern look and said "Well, if she's up to it, she could sit in our office and take the exam". I still remember dad gleaming with happiness as if he had won the lottery. I still remember mum getting me up from bed and helping me dress up. I crack up every time I remember mum saying "Oh dear, how awfully kind of them!"
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