I’m taking mostly lower-level, LC-satisfying classes this semester, but the capstone class for my major is, obviously, filled with seniors. There are a lot of intense aspects of the class, and the final exam will likely be no exception.
But after reviewing the class’s syllabus, I noticed something that frustrated me more than any 20-page paper would: The class’s final exam will be given on the last day of classes.
Last fall, Linfield’s faculty decided to test a new final exam schedule to more easily accommodate grading graduating seniors’ finals (TLR, “Committee presents grading solutions,” Oct. 30, 2010). Final exams are now Monday through Wednesday instead of Tuesday through Thursday, and Reading Day is on the Friday before.
I wrote an opinion piece at the end of last semester about the benefits to students of actually scheduling final exams to take place during finals week (TLR, “The week before finals isn’t our finals week,” Dec. 4, 2010). Those benefits still stand, but my concerns now turn toward the faculty.
I know that I’m not the only senior who has a final scheduled during class time, and this semester is supposed to be a trial run of the new finals system. How are faculty and administrative members supposed to measure the success of the new schedule if some professors aren’t following it? If these professors are still giving themselves extra time to grade senior final exams, then how will they know if they can complete grading before senior grades are due within the new system?
I want to reiterate from my fall article that scheduling final exams during class instead of during exam week is a burden to students. It means we can’t use Reading Day and have to juggle studying for finals while completing other end-of-semester papers, projects and presentations.
Faculty will be hindered because scheduling finals like this will skew the effectiveness of results of the trial finals schedule.
If professors have final exams scheduled during class time, then they need to change their calendars and syllabi now while the semester is young.
The new, and old, finals schedules are mandated by the college. Professors are not supposed to schedule finals outside of exam week.
If you have a final before that week, then your professor is breaking the rules. Talk to him or her and get your final exam date changed to when it should actually take place. It will benefit everyone.
Kelley Hungerford can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org