Changes proposed to the finals schedule allow students to take fewer exams each day and have more time between exams by eliminating Dead day. Any changes approved by the University Undergraduate Academic Council and provost would not be implemented until the Spring 2012 semester, at the earliest.
The proposed finals schedule is still being modified, but as it stands the schedule allows a full two hours for each testing period, increases the break between exams to 30 minutes, adds an hour break each day for lunch and nixes Dead day.
This is the first revision suggested to finals week in at least 30 years. The UUAC requested the schedule be evaluated during a regular policy review. Bart Herridge, registrar and director of academic records, crafted the new schedule after consulting universities in the area and ACU’s sister schools.
Out of the schools Herridge benchmarked, ACU is the only university that cancels an entire day of classes during the week of finals. Some have a “dead week” during which classes still meet, but exams are not given.
“The original intent for Dead day was for faculty to be in their offices so students could come by before finals began and ask questions, develop concepts or whatever they need to do to get ready for a final exam,” Herridge said. “Anecdotal evidence suggests that this doesn’t happen anymore.”
The current finals schedule is stressful for students and faculty, said Herridge. It allows students onlyÂ fifteen minutes to change classrooms, crams as many as three exams into a day and rushes faculty to get grades in by the following Tuesday.
“The purpose of finals is not to measure stress, it’s to measure performance and mastery of the learning outcomes of a course,” Herridge said. “That’s better demonstrated in a situation where students have one or two finals a day than when they have three or more.”
Adding a day to the finals schedule decreases the likelihood that a student will have to cram three or four exams into the same day, Herridge said. It also allows for an empty hour during each day for students to eat lunch or do last-minute studying.
Not all students would welcome the change. Desmond Brown, sophomore computer science major from Houston, called the changes unnecessary. He said, dead day is needed so students can become fully immersed in studying and groups can meet more easily when no one has class.
“We need Dead day for the extra studying, and two hours in a class isn’t needed if you are prepared for the test,” Brown said.