Exams Ok Today in Classes with FinalsBy Daniel C. Stevenson
Confusion about whether exams could be given today in classes with final exams led to the cancellation of at least one quiz, a test in Linear Algebra (18.06).
The Regulations of the Faculty and the Academic Calendar disagree on whether exams can be given or assignments, term papers, or oral presentations can be due today.
According to section 2.52 of the Regulations, for each subject with a final exam "no examination shall be given and no assignment, term paper, or oral presentation shall fall due in the six days preceding the reading period."
Reading period begins next Thursday, so the six-day grace period includes today. The first final exams are offered next Friday afternoon.
However, the Academic Calendar says that for subjects with finals, "no assignment or exercise of any kind may fall due" after today. In addition, in a letter to the faculty at the beginning of the term, Professor of Physics Robert A. Jaffe, chair of the faculty, specifically stated that exams could be given and assignments could be due today.
Professor of Mathematics Michael J. Hopkins cancelled the 18.06 quiz scheduled for today after a student questioned whether it followed the faculty rules. Other exams and quizzes, including one in Physics I (8.01), have not been cancelled.
Half day of exams Friday
The reason for the discrepancy is that this year, the reading period begins next Thursday and ends halfway through next Friday. Exams, which traditionally begin on the Monday following a Thursday to Sunday reading period, begin next Friday afternoon, Jaffe said.
The extra half day of exams was added to Friday to shorten the exam period by one day, Jaffe said. "It was thought it was unreasonable to keep students around here through Friday, Dec. 23," he said.
"Technically, literally the faculty regulations say six days," but the skewed calendar this year produced the discrepancy, said Registrar David S. Wiley '61.
The academic calendar underwent extensive revision last year. "At the time the calendar was changed, that particular rule [in the Regulations] was not modified to keep up with the calendar," Wiley said.
"At some point the rules should be modified," Wiley said.