Chesterfield cancels exams; why some students are not happy

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- After canceling school four straight days following Sunday's snowstorm, Chesterfield Schools have now also cancelled mid-term exams for high school students.

"While assessment and accountability certainly have a place in the teaching-and-learning process, they cannot replace the important role of engaging, authentic face-to-face classroom instruction that occurs on a daily basis," Chesterfield County Schools posted in a note to parents and students on Facebook. "As a group, high school principals supported the notion of canceling mid-term exams originally scheduled for December 2018 and subsequently rescheduled for January 2018 [sic]. Having already missed about five days of instruction due to hurricanes, flooding and winter weather, the cancellation of exams will provide our outstanding teachers more time to teach the curriculum that we are required to teach."

While you might think all students (and their parents) would be excited about the notion of no exams, you'd be wrong. Those midterm exam test days now become regular school days.

Some high school seniors, who maintained good grades, were exempt from taking their mid-term exams and scheduled work hours next week or their families planned to get a jump on Winter Break.

"We understand that some high school seniors who were eligible for exam exemptions have made plans to work, travel, etc. Seniors who would have been exempt and have made plans on those days will be marked with an excused absence with a parent’s note," the school system's statement continued.

Still, students (and their parents) expressed displeasure on social media, pointing to the amount of make-up work they'd be subjected to upon their return to class.

Also, some felt, they were losing a privilege they had worked hard to earn.

"My daughter has looked forward to this since her freshman year," one parent wrote in reply to Chesterfield Schools' post. "She has already committed to her job and even though her absences will be excused do you realize the amount of work she will have to makeup [sic]?"

"We have waited three years for this one specific senior privilege," a student wrote on Facebook. "This is the only one that any of us have actually cared about and payed [sic] attention to and now it’s being taken from us."

Chesterfield Schools did offer an option to students who still wanted to take mid-term exams.

"Not wanting to penalize a student for something they have no control over, if a student desires to take an exam in an effort to boost their first semester grade, they may opt to do so," the school system said.

Henrico Schools, which also cancelled mid-term exams, will open on a two-hour delay Thursday.

Chesterfield Schools, which remain closed, hoped to reopen Friday.

"We have provided the county government’s Transportation Department with a list of problem spots that we believe still need to be addressed in hopes of returning to normal operations on Friday," the school system posted on Facebook. "We also have provided a list of school parking lots and bus loops with snow and ice that need to be addressed."

You can view a complete list of school closings and delays here.

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