Would you give a quiz or test the day before a long (> 3 day) holiday break? For example, would you give a quiz/test the day before the Thanksgiving break?
Some schools in the US are not in session this week at all, but I think most are in session either Monday-Tuesday or Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday.
Is there a special place in hell reserved for professors who give an exam the day before Thanksgiving break and other long mid-term breaks in the academic schedule, or is this a clever way for an instructor to ensure attendance and/or to see who is serious about a course? Or is the day before Thanksgiving break (for example) just another day in the schedule and, if makes sense to have a quiz that day, so be it?
I will reveal my philosophy on this, at the risk of appearing nice: I never give a quiz the day before Thanksgiving break. Or Spring Break.
My no-quiz-before-breaks philosophy derives in part from my being ever-so-slightly nice on special occasions, but there is also a self-interested practical issue involved. I avoid giving make-up exams if at all possible, and many students have quite valid reasons for needing to miss the day-before-Thanksgiving-break class; e.g. long-distance travel to be with an ailing grandparent or to meet a new niece. These students would need make-up exams. I don't have to give them make-up exams, but I would, and then I would spend my week preparing extra exams and giving these exams and I don't really have time for that.
It is sad that so many students miss the awesome educational experience that is my day-before-vacation class, but it's also kind of nice to teach a smaller class, even if just for a day. There is a more relaxed, festive, and casual atmosphere than usual, and more students ask questions than usual (perhaps to distract me from my lecture, but that's OK). And some students who have never before spoken in class will ask a question. This is great. And sometimes I end class a bit early.
I like that the last class before a break has a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, not an anxious test-taking one. And then I don't have to grade over the break either.
9 months ago