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Officials revamp UI final exam policies

BY ANNA THEODOSIS | FEBRUARY 24, 2012 6:30 AM

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A University of Iowa Student Government initiative has made significant changes to final-exam policies.

The revised policy would allow students with three or more finals in one day to file for a conflict allowing them to reduce the number of finals to two. Students will also be given at least half an hour between finals instead of 15 minutes and will not have any finals after 5 p.m. Friday.

UISG President Elliot Higgins said he developed the idea after sending a university-wide email asking for students' opinions on final-exam policy. Only one out of the 100 responses were satisfied with current policy.

"There were some frustrations among students regarding finals policy," Higgins said. "I took it upon myself to meet with the Office of the Provost to relay some of those concerns."

Some students said they're ready to see the change.

"I definitely think [the changes in policy] will be beneficial," UI freshman Taylor Mathis said. "For people who have really close finals, [the changes] could give them time to get there or study in between. And three finals would be so crazy, so only having two would help."

UI senior and former business major Siya Mali said he agreed, noting that business finals tend to be lumped around the same time during finals week.

"A lot of my classmates were not so happy about three exams in a day," he said. "The testing schedule for a business major might be way tougher if they're taking all business courses."

Over the next several days, students will receive their final-exam schedules with potential conflicts highlighted. Professors will also receive a list of students in their classes with potential conflicts.

Higgins said he and many responding students agreed final exams were not always accurate interpretations of what students learned over the semester if they had to take three or more in one day.

"If student have to take three tests on the same day, it's not going to be an accurate reflection of what they learned in class," he said. "In the past, students were only given 15 minutes in between finals, which is not enough time to collect yourself."

Associate Provost for undergraduate education Beth Ingram agreed.

"Elliot's data were pretty convincing that having to take three exams [in one day] put a lot of pressure on students," she said. "My expectations is that students will now do better on their final exams."

Higgins said the officials in the Provost's Office were very responsive to the proposed changes.

"The faculty were very sympathetic," he said. "The only issue they raised is that if there was a change in policy that it wouldn't adversely affect scheduling."

Higgins and Ingram agreed that seniors should be able to have the Friday before graduating to themselves so they can spend time with friends and family before commencement.

"[Not having finals after 5 p.m. Friday is] especially important for seniors graduating the next day," Higgins said.


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