Today I had a major exam in the language class I am taking. I don't mind taking a test the day before Thanksgiving, but I don't think I would give such an exam in a class I was teaching. In one of the classes I am teaching this semester, I asked the students if they had exams in their other classes this week, and most did not. The few who did asked "Why do professors give exams the week of a big holiday?".
Quite a few of my students either had tests last week or have tests next week. One student asked "Why do professors give exams the week after a holiday?" and another asked "Why do professors give exams the week before a holiday?" and another asked "Why do professors give exams so close to the end of the semester?". The students also hate exams on Mondays and Fridays. I think that leaves a Wednesday in mid-October as the only acceptable date, though it's difficult for students to have lots of exams on the same day or in the same week, so maybe that possibility is out as well. When I was discussing this with my students, I laughed and said "It seems that your real question is Why do professors give exams?".
The class in which I had this discussion doesn't have any exams, so it was an easy topic to discuss openly, although I kept the discussion on the topic of exam scheduling rather than the cosmic question about the existence of exams. It really seemed to surprise some students that professors don't have evil motives when picking exam times, and that the amount of material covered relative to the type of exam is perhaps the main factor in deciding when and how many exams there will be.
9 months ago