Boalt to the Future II
Now, I'm the rare (not unique, but not majority) law student who actually prefers in-class exams to take homes, so I don't shy away from classes that have in-class exams. As it happens this semester, all five of my classes have in-class exams. That's a lot of exams to schedule in a two-week exam period. And as it happens, I have three exams on three consecutive days in the last four days of exam period (MTW, exam period ending on Th). Awesome.
Now let's look at the Boalt exam reschedule policy. One can reschedule ONLY in three situations:
1) you are schedule for two exams during the same exam block.
Tacitus says: well, duh. You can't be in two places at once.
2) you have two exams in two consecutive exam blocks.
Tacitus says: OK, this makes sense if you have two exams on the same day. It makes less sense if you have an exam in the afternoon of one day and then the morning of the next, but it's nice of the exam schedule designers to be generous about this, I suppose.
3) you have three exams on three consecutive days.
Tacitus says: Awesome! That's my situation. Sweet relief!
But then, you read the fine print on the exam policy:
1) Rescheduled exams will not be given earlier than the original exam date.
2) Decisions as to which exams are rescheduled are solely at the discretion of the Dean of Students, though student input may be considered.
Condition 2) makes a certain amount of sense, I suppose. But Condition 1) doesn't help me out so much. I have the option of taking the exams on three consecutive days, or lengthening my exam period beyond the normal period. I have a lighter than average first week of exams (two exams in six days of exam blocks), and a heavier than necessary second week (three exams in four days of exam blocks). So I am stuck staying beyond the general exam period, or just taking my terrible schedule, all because of a seemingly arbitrary rule that exams shall not be rescheduled earlier than their original date. If someone can explain the sense of this to me, I'd love to hear it.*
And while we're on the subject, why have scheduled exams at all? What with downloadable exams and an honor code and all that, why not simply have people self-schedule their exams over the two week period? If cheating is a concern (and if cheating is a concern, I think you also concede that you have no faith in the honor code. If that's the case, why don't we just scrap it?), then have some proctored rooms available all the time...
These are just off-the-cuff musings, but the larger point is: it seems that Boalt has been doing a lot of things in certain ways just because "that's the way we've always done them." And a lot of these things are the ones the students gripe about most: registration for classes, class schedules, exam schedules... Where Boalt has been willing to innovate, students have by and large been pleased (everyone I know preferred being able to download and turn in their take-home exams on-line last semester). Why does the Boalt administration seem so afraid of change? Perhaps it is generational, but I think we should be able to do a lot more than we do on-line: order transcripts, make schedule changes, even submit forms for approval to the dean. This makes things easier on us students (no more dealing with the registrar's bizarre office hours!), and in turn makes us more satisfied students. Perhaps even "willing to pay higher fees" students. Well, maybe not that.
*On second thought, I don't want to hear it. I just want to complain. Good.