Supplementary exams: are they necessary?

By Lacey House
Roncalli Central High School
Port Saunders, Newfoundland

School is out! Homework and studying is over! Or is it really? That is a question that comes to the mind of former Roncalli students when the time for supplementary exams rolls around.

Students who do not pass a course get the chance to write a supplementary exam at the start of the next school year. This depends on the student's average at the end of the school year. Any students with an average between 40% and 49% will receive this second chance to take a supplementary exam in Math, English, or Science.


But the supplementary exams raise concerns and questions among some people at the school. They wonder if these exams are necessary. Should a student receive this second chance after having all year to succeed?

Twenty-six students wrote their supplementary exam during the first week of our school year. Out of the 26 students who wrote the exam, only eight students passed, with the highest mark being 55%. Two out of the eight passing students were in Grade 12 and they needed the courses to graduate.

What will happen to the other six students? Will they head into the basic program for courses like Math and English? On the other hand, what about those Grade 12 students who needed these courses to graduate? If there were no supplementary exams, those students would have to repeat the year. Now, because of those exams, these students are able to go on to pursue a career for their future.

With only a 31% passing rate, is it worth putting time into these exams on the part of the teachers, the students and the parents? Do the students really take this seriously?

"Yes, there should be supplementary exams because it gives the student a chance to make up for his/her mistakes on the final exam," says Marc Mochon, a Grade 12 student.

The opportunity to write these exams poses questions at our school and the questions create confusion and concern. But are they worth it?

"Yes, there should be supplementary exams because I passed my supp this year," says Brian O'Keefe, who is now attending Grade 12 classes.

Let's hope that this year that supps will not need to written. If they are, then everyone should get ready for them over the summer and not wait until it's time to write them.