Wednesday, January 06, 2010

More Administrative Follies

The last day of classes for the Spring 2010 semester is Friday, April 30. Finals begin on Tuesday, May 4.

There was some ambiguity on the registrar's web page about the last day to give an exam that counts more than a certain amount of the grade. Since it is my job to deal with administrative crap for people, I called the registrar's office, but they weren't answering their phones. So then I called the provost's office, as their office is the one that sends out the email (in the middle of the semester) reminding us not to give an exam that counts more than a certain amount after the cut-off date. The admin staff in the provost's office used their secret contacts in the registrar's office to determine the last day to give an exam that counts more than a certain amount is Friday, April 23. One full week before the last day of classes.

So I email the Calculus Czarina and everyone else who needs to know such things, telling them what the last day to give an exam worth more than a certain amount is.

One person had planned out a syllabus using the wrong date (it was ambiguous on the registrar's web page). This person had assumed that the last day to give an exam worth more than a certain amount was Monday, April 26. Or possibly Tuesday, April 27? I don't remember exactly, but it was a class day or two later than the real day.

This person was quite upset to find out the real date, calling the university's policy "ridiculous" and complaining that "we lose the whole last week of classes." Apparently this person believes that you can not cover any new material after the last regular exam. I wrote back telling the person to move the exam back one class, have the new material originally scheduled for Friday move to Monday, and then put an extra question about the new stuff on the final.

I went to college in a world where you were lucky if there were two midterms (located at the 1/3 and 2/3 points of the term) and not just one in the very middle of the term. I realize that we don't exactly have Ivy League students here and that they can't remember more than a few weeks' worth of stuff, so we have more frequent exams over less stuff. But I think that even our students can handle learning new material during the last week of classes and having that material tested on the final exam.