Northwest changes attendance policy for students taking AP exams


The new attendance policy for Northwest students regarding attending school on AP exam days. Students will not be expected to attend school on AP exam days.

All year, students prepare for AP (advanced placement) exams.  They memorize information, perform labs, analyze documents and create portfolios.  Now, students are finally ready to take AP exams and this year, it comes with a new policy from the school.  

Unlike in past years, on days where students have AP exams, they will not be required to attend school for that entire day.  For many students, it is a way to relax after a taxing morning exam or cram in some last minute studying before an afternoon exam.  

“(With the new attendance policy) students aren’t stressed about other classes or homework during the exam,” sophomore Madeline Waterfield said.  “(They) can get a good night’s sleep and concentrate better. Also, they don’t have to overextend themselves when they are exhausted from exams and can sleep in or eat breakfast before afternoon exams.

While this policy seems to have many benefits for students, there are several drawbacks associated with this new change.

“It is harder for teachers with lots of AP students to teach and review during exams,”  Waterfield said.

Junior Mary Yin echoed Waterfield’s thoughts about the drawbacks of this policy.

“Students not being required to come to school does mean that honors classes cannot function as well,” Yin said. “For a two week period, students are in and out of class which is especially true for classes with a mix of sophomores, juniors and seniors.  Giving out quizzes and tests is inconvenient because people who are absent will need to make them up and catch up on what was missed.”

Waterfield speculates that this policy was changed as an attempt to help students do better on their AP exams without worrying about attending school on those days.

“I think that the policy was changed because reducing stress and increasing sleep before exams are very important to allow students to do as well as they can do on such an important test,” Waterfield said.

However, junior Mary Yin also added that this new attendance policy might not decrease the stress students experience before their AP exams.

“I went to school before the APES (AP environmental science) exam last year since it was in the afternoon, and I felt the same way I did this year before an AP exam, which is stressed,” Yin said.  

Both Yin and Waterfield feel that this is a positive change for students by reducing the stress they feel before their AP exams.

“I think it’s a good policy because it gives students a choice on whether they feel that it is necessary to come to school that day,” Yin said.  “It also gives them greater freedom to manage their time, whether it be sleeping in more, doing some last minute review, or going home and getting some well-deserved rest.”