Sunday mid-term exams will be reintroduced, for just three weekends per term, during an 18-month trial period that will start during this winter term.
Western Senate approved the change at its Dec. 7 meeting, following a recommendation of the group’s Committee on Academic Policy and Awards (SCAPA).
“It’s meant to fix and relieve stress for students,” some of whom now have two or three exams on a Saturday during the mid-term period, said John Doerksen, Vice-Provost (Academic Programs).
Academic policies and scheduling constraints now restrict the potential period when mid-terms may take place – leaving a narrow window of a few Fridays and Saturdays per term for these exams.
Rather than alleviate stresses on students, the narrowed list of possible dates for mid-terms had added to concerns, particularly in large courses where the necessity of common exams led to some having to sit more than one exam on a Saturday, Doerksen said.
The limitation has also meant additional scheduling issues for those who needed academic accommodation.
Not all courses will have Sunday exams, and they will be limited to three specific weekends per term. “There aren’t going to be more exams, they’re just going to be more spread out,” said Prof. Mark Workentin, who presented the recommendation on behalf of SCAPA.
The trial period of Sunday begins in the Winter term and will continue until June, 2020.
At the same time, an ad hoc committee of SCAPA is assessing the effectiveness of fall reading week, which began two years ago on a trial basis.