By Roop Gill
Ryerson professors are breaking school policy by scheduling exams during class time, and they’re getting away with it.
However, professors say they have little choice because there isn’t enough time to mark exams before the semester ends.
Britney Nichols, an arts and contemporary studies student, said she’s had courses in which the finals were the week before the exam period began.
“The reason provided by the professors tends to be on the lines of getting it out of the way for the students. At the time, it really sucks to cram in an exam along with all the assignments.”
Holding exams the week before the designated exam period is prohibited by Ryerson’s policy, says registrar Keith Alnwick, who oversees the exam schedule. Nevertheless, some professors are still doing it under the pretext of helping students, and some professors aren’t even aware of the policy.
“I plead complete ignorance,” said design and communications professor Marta Braun. When told about the policy, she indicated that she would move the 15 per cent test scheduled for Apr. 10 into the exam period.
“It’s going to screw [my students] up, I’m afraid, but rules are rules,” she said.
Robert Teigrob, a history instructor, says the problem can arise when professors have to mark final exams in a matter of days in order to get the marks in. “Last semester, I had to mark 82 exams in a weekend, most of them were two booklets or longer,” he said. “I looked like crap the next morning.”
Teigrob says he has never held a final exam outside the schedule.
Dave Mason, a computer science professor and president of the Ryerson Faculty Association, raised the issue at Senate last December.
“Some professors choose to put in multiple-choice questions as opposed to short answer questions in order to finish the marking quicker,” he said last week, adding that he discourages professors from scheduling exams during class.
He asked Senate to give professors more time to submit their grades. The Senate wrote a new policy that would offer students an extra weekend to study and faculty several more days to mark.
Starting in Fall 2008, students would attend Monday classes on the last day of the term, which would be Friday. As a result, the last day for Friday courses will be Nov. 21.
“This gives students three days of preparation and the Monday classes get to meet for the designated amount of times,” says Alnwick.
“We are also giving the professors an extra day in the Fall and a total of five days in Winter terms to submit their grades.”
The policy change is scheduled to go to Senate next week.