What To Do When A Student Is Absent From The Exam?
May 19, 2013 Career Development 1998 Views
Guidelines For The New Teacher
In primary and lower secondary year levels, it is not a big issue unless the child is often absent from exams and other assessment items. What should happen, in most cases, is the absent child's name is put on an exam paper on the day of the test. Then, on return to school, the test is given to the child to do in a quiet place at an appropriate time under exam conditions.
In large group exams, the class roll, completed exams and spare exams are returned to the class teacher. The spare papers are then available for the absent students to do as soon as possible after their return to school.
The main issue here is to ensure that the results of all exam candidates are not advantaged or disadvantaged by their absence from the exam. It is important that students do not attempt to do exams when sick. They will not perform at their best.
The questions you have to answer for yourself if you use the same test item are:
- Do you use the same marking criteria/scheme?
- Do you adjust it to create a fairer judgement bearing the other students in mind?
- Do you set a different test?
You need to answer these questions only if the test item is a traditional pen on paper exam. If you are using an alternative assessment item, this may not be necessary.
In most year levels, primary school included, nothing should change. In final year high school, where results determine future education pathways, the school must create a policy that fits into the requirements of the external body that determined these pathways. This policy should include:
- Marking policy;
- Checking absences and their documents, e.g. medical certificates;
- Recording of absences in the attendance system;
- Procedure for reporting absences and sickness that could prevent a student from not gaining proper recognition of his/her efforts;
- How credit can be given;
- How to record special consideration for genuine cases;
- How to mark exam during which a student is sick.
For these students you may need to give them an alternate exam to ensure that they do not get an unfair advantage from the extra time they had to study.
Checking reasons for absences
- There are some students, even from the lower primary years, who are exam shy and get 'sick' on exam days.
- Still others, particularly high school students, can pretend sickness (with or without their parents' knowledge) to gain extra study time. Others do it to avoid test topics they haven't mastered and hope to use other test marks from other test items to inflate their overall results. They hope not to be asked to do a follow up exam.
- In the final year of high school, where external bodies determine final graduation results and tertiary education entry places, all absences must be justified by doctors' certificates in fairness to all students in their quest for further education.
- In high schools, some students absent themselves from the exam period only and go to all other periods to give the impression of their being at school the whole day. When their teacher asks where they were on the exam day, they claim they were there and the teacher has lost their exam paper. This is why roll making and the checking of exam papers against your roll is essential directly after the exam. Where assignments are being handed in, sign and date the assignment and have the student sign against his name to indicate that you have the assignment.