Faculty discouraged from giving early finals

Story by Courtney ScobyContributing writer

Interim Provost Tim Todd sent out a reminder last week to inform faculty not to schedule tests during the last week of classes. 

According to the email, if professors choose to schedule tests during this week, that information should be communicated clearly to students in the course syllabus or in the schedule of activities for the course. The message provided no consequence for professors scheduling tests during the final week of classes.

In the email, Todd said the excessive scheduling of tests during the last week of regularly scheduled classes, coupled with upcoming final examinations, may place students at a serious disadvantage.

Students have mixed feelings about this policy, however.

Rachel Phelan, junior from Bardwell, Ky., said she didn’t think changing the policy would make much of a difference to her by the end of the semester.

“I do understand that with a busy school schedule, work schedule and home life that much dedication to studying for two tests back to back might not be possible,” she said. “But I don’t really understand why it would be a big deal to have a test that week. If anything, it would make the information more present in your mind on the final.”

Arden Mynatt, senior from Louisville, Ky., said she appreciated the policy change and wanted her professors to be clear on their expectations from the beginning of the semester.

“I think it should be stated up front, because that will give you more time to study,” Mynatt said. “I’m OK as long as I’m aware.”

She said that although she does not mind taking tests during the final week of classes, she is not fond of professors who change the scheduled test dates mid-semester.

“I have had tests that were supposed to be earlier, but the professors were like ‘No, let’s push it back to that week,’” she said. This is often how tests end up scheduled during the last week of classes.

Students are also concerned about the large number of final papers, projects and assignments that are inevitably due at the same time. 

“I did not have any tests scheduled the week before finals, but I did have three huge papers due that week which, in my opinion, is just as bad,” Phelan said.

Phelan said students can struggle to find time for all of their schoolwork, often while balancing jobs, volunteering and participating in campus activities.  This becomes even more difficult at the end of the semester when final projects and final exams collide.

“It’s more stressful because you have more projects and assignments due, and you have to study for that test on top of everything,” Mynatt said.