The Mystery of Evaluation Week

Mary Peters-

“The Evaluation Week schedule must be adhered to by all faculty and staff as published here. Instructors are expected to accommodate students who have three or more scheduled final exams on one day,” states an excerpt from the University of WisconsinStout Evaluation Week Schedule online page. Evaluation week at UWStout is the final week of each semester. There is a set schedule, different from every other week of the semester, for students to be evaluated on their courses. Many professors do not have an official final exam, or they oftentimes hold the final exam themselves prior to evaluation week itself.

Regardless of any exam or project, or lack there-of, each professor must hold class during evaluation week, according to UW–Stout policy. The reason why, however, seems to be a mystery. Locating the policy stated is very easy; locating the reasoning behind it is nearly impossible.

When looking into other UW schools, the answer is seemingly just as difficult to find. With UWStout, the statement of the policy is placed in italics exactly where the evaluation week schedule can be found online. With many of the other UW schools, it is not so simple. Most schools seem to follow the generic schedule of placing examination dates and times with section and course numbers, similar to how it happens at UWStout. A large policy that remains consistent throughout a majority of the UW system schools is that in the event of a student having three or more exams scheduled in one day, a professor may change the schedule at their discretion. Besides that one excuse, there is not much more that can get a finals schedule changed for a student.

It is incredibly important for universities to have strong, valuable policies in place to keep them running as smoothly as possible. Students, however, should have the ability question policies that they do not understand. Ideally, students and faculty should have resources readily available to them to provide a reason for each of the policies they comply to. With the examination week policy, it remains a bit confusing as to why professors are required to hold class during evaluation week whether they have work for the students or not. It is frustrating that attendance is required for students during this week. While policies hold a valuable meaning, the individuals obeying them need to be able to easily understand the reasons behind their placement.