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Reading Period? What Reading Period?

December 14, 2008

by The Forum

You should have a right to take your final exams during finals week, not the week or weekend before.

I should have posted this earlier, but I didn't realize how big of a deal this was for the hundreds of students who were affected by the Registrar's changes this semester.

CMC's Academic Policies clearly state: "Only the dean of the faculty may change the dates or times of final examinations." But when I contacted Dean of the Faculty Dean Hess to ask about this last week, he was unaware of the situation but said he would look into it.  I just heard back from Registrar Elizabeth Morgan, who says, "The common finals on the 13th and 14th were approved in September by the Dean of Faculty’s Office, scheduled in consultation with each faculty member, then reserved through my office."

Basically, some classes with more than one section taught by the same professor were rescheduled for the weekend before finals week. In at least a few cases, students had a final exam the night of the last day of classes and another at 9 AM the next morning(!!!) if they had a conflict. While the reasoning goes that it's more efficient to have all sections of a course take an exam together, it's not like there weren't better options available than scheduling them during the reading period.

Christopher Jones, CMC '11, for example, had "three exams this weekend: one on Saturday night (6-9 PM) and two on Sunday (9 AM-12 PM and 12 PM-3 PM)." Like many students, Chris also had a ton of final projects and papers due the last week of classes, up to Friday, so he didn't have much time to study for his exams.

Keep in mind that Pomona and Scripps get a four-day reading period, and CMCers normally have at least the weekend.

Here's the rule from our catalog (emphasis is mine):

"Final examinations are given in the last week of the semester and students should expect a final examination in all of their courses. Final examinations are not given at the regular class meeting times and students must make sure they are on campus during the entire week of final examinations. Final examination schedules are published in the (pre-)registration materials. Final examinations cannot be changed by the instructor. Only the dean of the faculty may change the dates or times of final examinations.

Seniors expected to graduate in May cannot take the regularly scheduled finals at the end of the spring semester because of the early due date for senior grades. Instructors may require these students to take final examinations during the last week of classes. Non-graduating seniors and other students in the course must take the regular final exam and cannot take the earlier exam."

-Claremont McKenna College Catalog, 2008-2009, "Academic Policies and Procedures"

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