Exam schedule needs scrutiny

Alterations applied to final exam schedules potentially do more harm than good, especially for students.

In previous semesters, final exams for a class took place at four set times daily during finals week. Some professors may have provided students with the flexibility to choose when they would like to take an exam.

A revised system, now in place, sets five daily exam times from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Exams may be scheduled back-to-back. This change may benefit professors because it would enable them to reuse the same exam for a multiple-section class offering.

However, not all faculty members necessarily agree with the revision and professor Allan Walstad has agreed that all faculty were not included in discussion leading to the change.

Walstad said several colleagues disapproved of the schedule change and did not feel they had enough opportunity to raise their concerns. Also, he said that student concerns may not have been considered, particularly a need for breaks long enough for a lunch or preparation for a next exam.

In response to the objections made thus far, Pitt-Johnstown President Jem Spectar formed a committee to examine different final exam schedule models. The goal is to reach a consensus on the ideal schedule that will satisfy as many as possible.

It is reassuring for students, who may feel that they don’t have enough power to influence an administrative decision to have support from faculty.

Many students may disagree with the new  changes for the final exam schedule or a change back to the old way but are unsure of how to voice their opinion.

In previous semesters, an hour and a half break was allotted in between final exams. Under the new schedule, only half an hour would be available for back-to-back exams.

It may also be a shock to a student’s system to have an extremely early or late exam after having become accustomed to class times opposite of their final exam schedules.

Students may not often be aware of their final exam schedules until late in the semester. With such a major change possibly being made to this exam organization, students should be informed as soon as possible by administrators.

We think student representatives should be part of the process to at least assume their concerns are considered.

Also, the process leading to the final exam schedule change may not have adequately afforded all faculty an opportunity to review and consent a flaw Walstad said he observed.

We also support full faculty participation in shared governance in decisions affecting academics.