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Update on final exams in DPS this year

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To remind students that they have the option of delaying taking state assessments due to safety concerns during the pandemic, and to give students and families more confidence that delaying the state-mandated exams will not adversely affect their final exam grade, the Durham Public Schools Board of Education voted on December 10, 2020, to use the flexibility granted by the State Board of Education to make the lowest possible final exam grade for those assessments a 90 through the end of the school year.

The affected tests include End-of-Course exams for English II, Biology, Math 1, and Math 3, and Career-Technical Education post-assessments.

These exams are required by the state and federal governments as a condition of our states and schools receiving federal funding. Our Board was given the authority by the State Board of Education to adjust the grading scale from 0 to 100 for these final exams, but the state is still requiring us to have students take them in person. It is also important to note that even though the final exam grade assigned to students will be between 90 and 100 (and count for 20 percent of their final grade):

  • The student’s actual performance on the state-mandated final exams will still be reported on the student’s transcript and shared with colleges, universities, and others receiving transcripts.
  • Students’ actual performance on the state-mandated final exams will also be part of the School Performance Grade calculations made by the state unless the state determines otherwise.
  • Students who do not take these state-mandated exams will receive an Incomplete for the course.

Durham Public Schools does not have the authority to repeal these state requirements.

Other final exams

  • The DPS Board of Education’s decision to implement a 90-100 final exam grade scale only affects state assessments (EOC and CTE), not teacher-made final exams. After consultation with principals, DPS will implement a 60-100 final exam grade scale for those exams. Unlike the state assessments, teacher-made final exams may be taken remotely.
  • Students who do not take a teacher-made final exam will receive a zero on the exam.
  • All final exam grades count as 20 percent of the student’s final grade; the remaining 80 percent will reflect the student’s work in the class.

How families may postpone testing

DPS will take every precaution to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 to students and staff when tests are administered, including requiring masks, requiring social distancing, requiring frequent handwashing, staggering testing schedules to reduce the number of students in a classroom at the same time, installing upgraded air filters, cleaning and disinfecting frequently, and more.

However, students have the option of delaying taking state assessments. If a family is concerned about possible exposure to COVID-19, or if a student is ill, we will provide ample time during the school year to make them up.

To request a delay in EOC/CTE test administration, parents and guardians should contact their student’s teacher directly. Teachers will notify the school administration or the school’s testing committee, and a makeup test time will be scheduled for the student.

  • The window for making up first-semester exams is through February 15.
  • Students who do not make up the first-semester exam by January 28 will receive an Incomplete score until they make it up.
  • Students with an Incomplete will be given opportunities in the spring to complete the exam and again in June.
  • An Incomplete may affect athletic eligibility according to North Carolina High School Athletic Association bylaws or the ability to register for college courses during high school (for example, through J.D. Clement Early College High School at NCCU, Middle College High School at Durham Tech, New Tech High, and City of Medicine Academy). Questions about athletic eligibility should be directed to the school’s Athletic Director.