Come early May, students may find their late-night schedules busier than they had hoped, thanks to a new final exam schedule. Because the new schedule shortens the exam period from five days to four, exam days will last from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
During the Fall semester, the final exam schedule had six reading days and five exam days, which lasted from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. This semester, according to a mass e-mail sent by the Committee on Planning and Priorities (CPP), an exam day could last up to 15 hours. According to the e-mail, exams will not be scheduled to end until up to 10:30 p.m.
The reason for the change is that unlike last year, when the semester began on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Spring semester began the day after the federal holiday.
“I remember a few years ago we would have classes on Martin Luther King Day and then have a celebration of Martin Luther King Day on the following Wednesday,” Andrew Clifford, associate professor of mathematics and co-chair of CPP, said. Clifford said it was decided that setup was “less appropriate” than having the holiday off, which the committee recommended.
The committee considered two alternatives to the current schedule. One was to convert one of the four currently scheduled reading days into an exam day. The second was to shorten the actual exams by about 30 minutes.
CPP chose the current option Monday morning, after deliberating via e-mail the previous week.
CPP considered more options, including adding an exam day on Saturday. However, Clifford said this option was rejected because it would cost the College too much money.
Clifford and CPP received input from the Student Government Association (SGA), as well as the faculty and staff senates, regarding the three proposed changes to the final exam schedule.
“Just about all the feedback we got was ‘none of this is good,'” Clifford said.
SGA conducted a poll last week to gauge student preference among the three choices.
“The majority of SGA and the majority of the student population who contacted SGA in regards to this matter were in favor of shortening the exam periods from two hours and 50 minutes to two hours and 30 minutes,” Christine Cullen, SGA executive president, said.
When told of CPP’s decision to run exams until 10 p.m., some students responded negatively.
Lauren DiMatteo, senior marketing major, said, “I feel like it doesn’t leave you with any time to do anything.” DiMatteo was also worried about not getting enough sleep if she had a late exam scheduled before a morning exam.
Christine Selvaggio, junior communication studies major, was worried about the safety of having late exams.
“I think that it could be a safety concern walking from a building at 10 p.m.,” she said. Selvaggio said she would have preferred it if CPP had chosen to shorten the exam period.
According to Clifford, 10 p.m. is not the latest exams have ever been scheduled. He recalled spring of 1999, before transformation, when students took more classes and more exams. Then, exams were scheduled to end as late as 11 p.m.
“I never ended up giving an exam that ended 11 o’clock at night,” he said, “so I didn’t hear any complaints.”