Daily Egyptian

Professors at USG meeting say final exam scheduling change could reduce stress for students

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Daily Egyptian file photo

Daily Egyptian file photo

Daily Egyptian file photo

By Cory Ray

Three professors submitted a proposal which they said will minimize the number of students taking multiple finals on the same day to the Undergraduate Student Government Tuesday night.

“What we’ve proved now quantitatively is the current schedule sucks,” geology professor Ken Anderson said during the meeting. “To put it bluntly, it’s about as close as it gets to being a worst-case scenario.”

Though Anderson said there is no perfect solution to ensure all students have fewer than three finals on the same day, he said the number of students taking multiple exams in the same day could be reduced.

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Anderson wants the proposed system to be implemented as early as the coming spring semester.

The formal request comes from the campus Final Exam Schedule Committee, which passed the proposal on to USG and the Graduate and Professional Student Council. It will move next, whether passed or not, to the Faculty Senate then the registrar.

He also said math and English exams, which are scheduled back-to-back, can be a source of frustration for many students.

Many freshman or other students who are enrolled in both courses can find themselves running from one exam to the next without a break, Anderson said. Thus, he said the two exams should be given on separate days.

“I have experienced the four-day exam crunch,” USG Vice President Emily Buice said. “It’s not fun.”

Anderson proposed two solutions, both of which are randomized approaches. One is based on semester-to-semester scheduling, and the other is based on data from the prior spring or fall semester.

Under the latter approach, spring 2019 finals will be based on the spring 2018 class make-up.  

Under a semester-to-semester based approach, final exam schedules would no longer be available at the beginning of the semester; rather, the schedules would not be generated until the fourth week of the semester.

Besides changing the system, Anderson also wants to the university to be more accommodating for students with multiple exams in the same day.

Currently, students are allowed to request schedule changes if they have four exams on the same day. Anderson wants to add an amendment where students can request changes if they have three back-to-back exams.

“I think it’s a great way to reduce student stress and, overall, improve mental health on the campus in general,” Buice said.

Anderson said if USG decides to pursue changing the current policy, the organization will need to work with Faculty Senate to decide which system type should be used.

USG Senators will vote on the issue at their next meeting on Oct. 3.

Staff writer Cory Ray can be reached at cray@dailyegyptian.com or on Twitter @coryray_de.

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