Flunked: How GV’s exam schedule is failing its students

GV Lanthorn Editorial

GV Lanthorn Editorial

On Thursday Nov. 8, Student Senate voted on a resolution to allow students to move an exam if three or more of their finals fall on the same day. The resolution was written by Student Senator Ethan Schafer to address the lack of policy surrounding multiple exams being stacked on the same day. The University Academic Senate and other faculty departments will review the approved resolution before a policy can be enacted. This resolution brings to light Grand Valley State University’s complicated final exam schedule algorithm and how it is poorly affecting student’s academic success.

There is currently a newly revised final exam schedule in the works from Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs Edward Aboufadel. The new schedule would associate a class’ final exam time with its usual scheduled class time during the week. This would reduce confusion about exam schedules and follow a student’s semester schedule more closely. 

For many students, the current algorithm for scheduling final exams causes confusion and poor time management for studying and exams. Exam schedules can be especially complicated for students taking classes on multiple GVSU campuses. One student expressed how this has become a reoccurring issue to taking her final exams.

“Every semester since the beginning of my sophomore year I have had to reschedule exams,” said GVSU senior Ashley Mayer. “It’s usually due to having an exam in Allendale scheduled right before an exam on Pew or the medical campus. There’s just no way for me to make it in time.”

Luckily, Mayer has had accommodating professors who will work with her schedule to move exam times, but not all students will have the same luxury. Part of Schafer’s exam resolution noted that some professors are less lenient when it comes to moving an exam for any reason. 

The current exam schedule also fails to take into account how shifting a students entire schedule for exam week can be a challenge. Specifically, students with arranged child care or other responsibilities are forced to rearrange their entire week for exams. This can mean paying more for extended child care, skipping shifts at work and cramming studying into a busy, disorganized schedule. Bundled with the already immense stress that accompanies final exam season, GVSU’s scheduling system is proving more harmful than helpful to student success. 

The current final exam schedule doesn’t appear to be working for anyone, including professors who have to handle the rescheduling process for students with conflicting exam schedules. While many professors do attempt to assist students who experience scheduling conflicts, others likely grow tired of rescheduling multiple exams each semester. 

This is why a new final exam schedule is crucial for future students whose class loads continue to be spread across Allendale and Grand Rapids campuses. As GVSU expands its facilities, more students will begin to experience conflicts in their final exam schedule. By remedying this problem now, GVSU can remove the need for Student Senate resolutions and simply create a final exam schedule that works for everyone. 

Student Senate voted in approval of Proofadelle’s revised schedule, but details are still be reworked. If faculty governance approves it, the new final exam schedule could take effect as early as this school year.