Campus / News / January 28, 2010

Discussing finals regulations

When Lori Halem took over the position of Associate Dean of the College, one of her new tasks was overseeing the academic standing committee. Currently the academic standing committee is trying to respond to students’ complaints regarding the lack of final examinations.

On the subject of final examinations, the official Knox College Faculty Regulations state:

C 15 Examinations. A period of time at the end of each term shall be set aside for examination. No final shall be given prior to its scheduled time; no work in lieu of final examination shall be due prior to the scheduled time of the final examination. Exceptions may be granted by the Dean of the College.

C 15.1 Final examinations shall either be returned to the student or kept by the instructor for the term for inspection.

C 15. 2 If due to the student’s neglect his or her grade prior to the final examination is F, the instructor may refuse to allow the student to take the examination, reporting F as the final grade.

“We’re working on creating a set of rules but it’s more difficult than one might think. Before we can do anything, we need a definition of what a final is, as many classes end with different ‘finals’ – exams, papers, projects, presentations, etc. This is where we are now,” said academic standing committee member, Greg North.

“It was brought up at a faculty meeting, what counts as a final exam,” Haslem said.

If a student has three exams in a term, does the final exam count as the final, or are exams cumulative? There are also no regulations for take-home exams or oral exams. Should those rules be added or should it be left up to the professor? There are also no exceptions for student’s unable to take final exams because of an emergency.

“Reading day, how sacred should it be from any and all days,” Haslem asked. “Should you have an honors committee meeting or performance or should it be completely free?” said Haslem.

It is all up for debate. Right now Reading Day can be used for studying, end of the year department parties, or having a completely free day. It is up to the student or professor.

“I think final exams in general are expectable, by my standards, because different subjects require different ways to efficiently tests what students have learned over the term. For example, if you were to ask an English student to take a multiple question test, that seems kind of pointless. Also, a professor should be able to organize the term from beginning to end and decide how to assess the students in their class,” said junior Ruby Goh.

Haslem and Goh agree on one thing: students should have more time to study before finals.

Since students brought this issue to the academic standing committee’s attention, the committee will anticipate input from more students.

Amanda White

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