Is the New Makeup Test Policy Fair?

William Kremer ’21

What’s worse: a strike, or a failed test? For most Ranaz students, it would indubitably be failing a test. More than ever, certain freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and even seniors have taken on the practice of arriving to school late on days when they have tests in the morning, trying to squeeze in those last, desperate minutes of study time. Although Preludes clearly forbids arriving to school late on the day of a test, some sneaky students use the morning to prepare for their exams and then slip into school just in time to take them. And while teachers may be turning their heads, their classmates — the majority of the fair and honest student body — are definitely noticing. Even worse than coming late, according to many students, is not showing up at all, these test-dodgers taking the test days or even weeks later as a makeup, earning ample time for extra review. 

The increasing prevalence of this problem is why Ramaz implemented a new system, only allowing a student to take three makeup exams per semester. A considerable amount of students have been questioning the new makeup system, claiming that it isn’t fair, worrying what will happen if they miss more than three tests. So on and so forth. 

And even more sly than the test dodgers are the test hagglers. These are the students who pre-negotiate a later test date with teachers beforehand, often citing play practices, family events, current sickness (even though they somehow make it to school on the test date) as excuses to change the test day. If you are a student at Ramaz, there is no doubt you’ve lost track of how many occurrences of this “test dodging” you’ve experienced in some of your classmates.

When exactly are these makeups taking place? They are supposed to happen after school a few days following the scheduled test date — or, when students have come to an agreement with teachers on a mutually convenient date. However, I’ve been in classes where students have not taken their makeup until as much as a month after the initial exam date. And in these instances, the teachers do not give back the exam to the rest of the class until the dodger has gotten around to squeezing the test makeup into their busy schedule. You know, all those post doctor checkups, post-bar mitzvah/bar mitzvah events, and sheva brachot after those weddings.

Hopefully the new system solves the ongoing issue, lest the students with real health issues become the victims of these endless ploys — not being allowed to reschedule a test after a legitimate excuse. We’ve all read the story of the boy who cried wolf, and in this case, the student who cried “I’m so busy, can I please have a couple more days to prepare!?”