The feeling of pushing open a classroom door after completing the last final exam of the semester, finally free to enjoy Winter Break, is one many students look forward to throughout the dreaded finals week.
However, this year, one last obstacle stands between finals and freedom — a minimum day.
The Campanile believes having instructional minutes after the final exam, which typically signals the end of a semester, is not the best use of students’ and teachers’ time.
This day could be put to better use by either adding it to finals week in order to spread out the exams over four days, or moving it to before finals week in order to give students more review time.
Traditionally, Paly allots several days for students to review the semester’s material in class and ask teachers questions. In these designated class periods, teachers are not allowed to introduce new material or give students any exams. These days add up to what Paly students and staff refer to as “dead week.”
This year, dead week was reduced from three to two days, leaving students with significantly less time to work with their teachers to solidify their understanding of the course’s material and prepare for the final exam.
According to science teacher Nicole Loomis, the reduction of dead week is “unfortunate.” Loomis said it would be a more effective use of time to have a single C day (a day containing all class periods) as a review day in addition to a set of two block days instead of the minimum day.
Other teachers, including math teacher Daniel Nguyen and science teacher Gul Eris, also think students would benefit from having another day before finals to use for additional study time, and agree that this day could be created by eliminating the minimum day.
Moving the instructional minutes from after finals to before finals, where they would be incorporated into dead week, is not the only way these hours could be put to better use.
Another option is to add a fourth day to finals week so students could spread out their exams and avoid having three classes on one day. With the current system, students take three finals on Tuesday and two on Wednesday and Thursday. If Friday was added to finals week, students could have one final exam period on Tuesday along with a tutorial period and two finals on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Eris said this would help reduce student stress.
Principal Adam Paulson said he was not involved in the decision to create a minimum day after finals week, but he said it is too late to make these changes this semester because the schedule has already been announced and students and teachers may have made travel plans.
However, these changes can all be implemented next semester as well as next year. The Campanile, with the support of teachers and students, urges administration to adjust the finals schedule to help ease student stress and give classes more time to solidify a semester’s worth of material.