Saturday exams have been scheduled this semester to ensure that students have a “reading day” or “dead day” in between the last day of classes and the first day of exams.
Jennifer Good, associate provost at Spring Hill College, discussed how and why Saturday exams have returned to campus this spring. “In the past, some students were finishing up a course one day, and having to take the exam the very next morning without time to study or reflect after the final day of course instruction,” said Good.
It appears that the “Academic Preparation Day” was eliminated in the spring of 2011 and revived in the spring of 2017, according to archived calendars.
This spring, classes will end on Wednesday, and exams will start on Friday, giving students an “Academic Preparation Day” on Thursday. “Due to the need to schedule events related to senior week that lead into Commencement, exams must start on Friday and be scheduled on Saturday,” explained Good.
SHC sophomore Hana Blalack is a commuter student. Blalack mentioned how Saturday exams can be an inconvenience to commuter students. “Many students drive to school every week. I don’t like the idea of having to get up super early on a Saturday morning, when I could be studying, to drive all the way to school for just a couple of hours,” said Blalack.
Good was not sure who initiated the proposal of Saturday exams or the request to have them again this spring. “I remember hearing faculty mention that students were complaining to their instructors about the lack of study time in the spring. So, I don’t know if students or faculty took the lead on proposing the change to add a spring reading day on behalf of the students,” Good said.
Saturday exams may also present a conflict for students who work on weekends. “What are they suppose to do? Take off work to come take an exam on Saturday? That just isn’t feasible,” noted Blalack.
Not all students were against the idea of having Saturday exams, though. SHC student Madeline Johnson agreed with having Saturday exams by saying, “I think it’s great! Now, I have a day where I can actually study for my exams.”
The exam schedule for finals week in April is already set, but will be reviewed for upcoming semesters to determine if having the “dead day” is beneficial to SHC students.