Credit or nah?
Arguing against von Baeyer receiving credit is perfectly logical. While displaying a thorough knowledge of the laws of thermodynamics and of physics, it is mostly an account of important figures in history. Knowing about these laws and these men is very important, but does that mean that von Baeyer could put any of these ideas to the test? Not necessarily. You can read about physics all day, but if you do not know the equations and how to use them, there is little use. You cannot become a practicing engineer or scientist by simply reading books. Physics, chemistry, biology; when studying these subjects in school, a lab is also required because you have to practice the principles that you are learning about. Science is not a passive subject.
On the other side of the debate, giving H.C. von Baeyer credit for his manuscript in lieu of the exam could make sense. If von Baeyer has been attending classes all year and he also presents this manuscript, while in highschool, that is very impressive. He has gone to class and presumably done very well, so why not let him use this impressive history of thermodynamics in place of one exam? He will have years more in college to make up for not taking one exam and now he has a good understanding of physics and who studied the subject before him. Give the kid some credit.