At the outset of the 2017-18 school year, PVI instituted a new policy for make-up tests. Students who miss school on days when they have tests scheduled must make up those tests on Saturdays. This is a departure from the former policy, where students would make up tests during scheduled school days after they returned.
The Saturday make-up day was created to discourage students from taking the day off from school on test days, not because they are sick but to gain extra study time. The policy was also a response to the difficulty inherent in scheduling make-up tests, no matter what the reason was for missing the original date. Has this new policy been a success or a failure? It depends on who you ask.
First, upperclassmen were asked to weigh in with their opinions because they were used to the former policy. The Saturday policy is something new for them. One senior stated that she understood that students would sometimes not come to school on test days to get extra study time, but emphasized that “this makes students who are actually sick suffer. The way it used to be was that if you were ill, stay home, email the teacher and make up a test before/after school or make it up in study hall.” The senior went on to explain that Saturday testing is not just an inconvenience, but a possible health hazard. She continued: “It’s detrimental to the school’s health, in my opinion, because the CDC says to stay home if you’re sick and not spread illness, especially during flu season.”
Some freshman also bristled at the idea of Saturday testing. When asked why she was opposed to the policy, one freshman who is active in sports stated: “Back in middle school, you could take the test at another period, during lunch, or after school. But with this new policy, I feel as though the options for makeups are limited.” A male freshman who also has extra-curricular activities on some Saturdays echoed this sentiment when he said: “I think that students should be able to take tests after school in the testing center no matter what. It saves the student and teacher time from coming in on a weekend.”
Parents of upper and lower classmen also voiced concern that students who are sick would opt to drag themselves to school, against parental advice, to avoid taking a Saturday make-up test. One mother said: “I made sure my daughter got a flu shot and that she takes Vitamin C supplements to guard against illness because weekends are already packed with activity.” It was also noted that PVI attracts students from a large tri-county area and geography can add to the inconvenience of attending school on Saturday, particularly for lower classmen who don’t drive.
But not everyone has ambivalence or negative feelings about the Saturday make-up policy. One faculty member believes that it solved a dilemma where students would not come to school, and then “request to take tests as it fit their personal schedules.” The current make-up test policy does add clarity and predictability as to when tests will be taken Panther Press asked Mr. Brofft, a member of PVI’s math faculty, if he thought the Saturday make-up policy was inconvenient to teachers. He responded: “I don’t find it to be inconvenient at all, as we have proctors who are willing to take on such responsibilities. If fewer students are skipping test days, then the policy has had a positive effect. I think students dislike the policy, but have adjusted to it.”
While success or failure of a policy can best be determined with the benefit of hindsight at the close of the school year, it’s clear that at the midway mark, students and faculty at PVI have sharply differing opinions.