From December 10 through December 15, UConn professors will administer their final examinations for the Fall 2018 semester. However, some opt to schedule said tests a week early in order to lighten stressed students’ burdens. Such flexibility has created a debate surrounding the merits of conducting a designated ‘finals week’ to conclude each academic semester. Students, teachers and administrators alike would benefit greatly from UConn providing a broader range of possibilities for exam scheduling.
Unquestionably, UConn’s educators, disciples and chief operators should feel incentivized to amend the university’s current process for scheduling final exams. To restate the obvious, students should not be pigeonholed into a rigid, strenuous exam lineup that will almost assuredly spell failure and allow their hard work to go to waste. Similarly, professors may become overworked by the prospect of submitting hundreds of students’ final exam and course grades by a strict, and often tight, deadline. On account of the nearly infinite permutations of course schedules among its student body, UConn cannot accommodate every student from the get go. Given how pridefully UConn flaunts its students’ academic success, however, the prestigious university must do everything in its power to create an optimal environment within which said students may thrive; otherwise it risks earning a reputation for jeopardizing students’ academic, physiological and mental well-being, which may drive college applicants to consider more appealing options.
Fortunately, there are a variety of progressive initiatives that merit strong consideration. For example, perhaps the university could schedule two finals weeks and/or provide each student with the option to reschedule their final to the week prior if both the professor’s and student’s schedules allow for it. In this way, students can better account for illness, last-minute emergencies, vacations and any other extenuating circumstances (although if they wish for such freedom, then they should at least bear the responsibility of notifying their professors as soon as possible), and professors can spread their heavy load more comfortably if students decide to take their exams early. This would also alleviate the issue of bunched finals, which requires students to undergo an exhaustive process merely to space out their exams.
Such options should also be applied to midterms, which oddly have even less flexibility than final exams despite having approximately the same worth and occurring earlier in the semester; thus, midterms would be more streamlined as opposed to taking place repeatedly throughout the semester and/or creating scheduling nightmares (after all, they’re called “midterms,” not “multiple times between the first and last week of the semester”-terms). Other potentially valuable modifications to UConn’s current exam structure include allotting “reading days” that would provide students with more study opportunities and permitting professors to take student feedback into account and schedule their own finals as opposed to the university arbitrarily scheduling exam times that inconvenience a large sector of students and professors.
UConn’s exam scheduling system, as flawed as it is, can benefit all parties involved if the university’s administrators put enough care into improving it; and for the sake of the university’s and its tenants’ well-being, said administrators should realize that maintaining the status quo isn’t the best option to select from its list of potential answers.
Michael Katz is a contributor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email firstname.lastname@example.org.