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“F” In Rationality: Reinstate Exam Week

by Cassandra Michalakis

The opinion pieces expressed in this publication, The Montclarion, are those of the author(s). They do not claim to reflect the opinions or views of the The Montclarion, other than Editorials written by The Montclarion Editorial Board staff.

It seems too early to be thinking about exams when we had them over a month ago. I agree we need to focus on the new semester, but the issue carries over with each term.

In saying “bring back exam week,” I am in no way saying all subjects should give out exams. Each class is free to choose whatever mode of assessment they deem appropriate for the end of the term. The lack of “exam week” however, caused unnecessary stress for professors and students in terms of planning.

Exam week is simple. The basis is that exams are given on the days the classes typically meet.

The lack of exam week meant exams could be given on any day. Students booked their classes to be reported to those subjects at designated times. Is there any real reason to be meeting outside those times?

The classes are guaranteed their designated spots until the end of the semester, up until the last week. Those logistics are sorted out by the university. There should be no real significant difference in the volume of students and the classes being occupied by them simply because there are exams.

It makes no sense to toss that orderliness out the window.

Designating a week to have exams is crucial when considering the time and effort students put out to prepare, study, and attend the exams. Exams make up a significant portion of the grade. It’s the reason “exam week” was allocated in the first place.

It is not just important material-wise. It is also about getting grades in on time, and not hindering students from taking classes with prerequisites. If you make it more troublesome for the students to show up on exam day, the likelihood of students missing it and not moving on to the sequential class increases.

It is also a matter of availability. The lack of an exam week meant conflicting schedules, as other professors issued their exams with overlapping time slots. I say this from firsthand experience. The professors in our department were struggling to correlate a suitable exam date because students were having class when an exam was being distributed.

What of classes in other departments? Is every single professor meant to accommodate their exam time because one class decided to schedule their exam during their window of time?

That is why “exam week” forced professors to distribute their exams during designated class time. If they want to give a longer exam, they could break it into two parts. Even then, only on the days the class is set to meet.

Most students have other responsibilities besides school. They have chosen their time slots based on the structured schedule of their week. Yet at the end of the semester, they are expected to rearrange a hectic schedule of responsibilities. This puts students with work and/or familial responsibilities at an unjust disadvantage, as Montclair State University consciously allows professors to choose exam dates of their liking.

The argument that “not everyone has exams” holds no water. Every class is free to do whatever they wish. But, do not have classes run their exams on times that are not already built into the university-wide timetable. Otherwise…what is the point of scheduling?

The request is simple. Please bring back exam week.

I really do not want to wake up for another 7 a.m. final on a day that was never my assigned class time to begin with. A straightforward implementation like exam week seems like a level one-hundred concept to me.

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