As a measure of assessing a student’s proficiency and knowledge on a subject, examinations are regularly conducted. Aside from quizzes, the University also implements midterm examinations during the seventh or eighth week of the term. Meanwhile, final examinations are held during the 14th week. While these assessments often follow a fixed departmental schedule, some classes take the liberty of scheduling their examinations earlier or later than arranged, resulting in various positive and negative implications.
Overlapping schedules, other conflicts
The usual number of units that a student takes per term is 18, upon which they are considered fully loaded. Hence, the probability of having a conflict during the midterm and final examinations is rather likely. According to the Vice Chair of the Marketing Department Jose Luis Legaspi, the rationale of having a fixed exam schedule is “to avoid [the] overlapping and conflict in schedules of exams.”
In Section 10.5 of the Student Handbook, final examination schedules are posted on the DLSU website and on the bulletin boards specifically three weeks before the examinations. Regarding conflict in examination schedules, the Student Handbook emphasizes that a student faced with this problem should proceed directly to the Office of the University Registrar (OUR) to apply for a special final examination.
In addition, the OUR stipulates general guidelines on which exam to prioritize in a given conflict. A departmental exam takes priority over a regular exam, while a part-time professor takes priority over a full-timer. Between two full-timers, seniority of rank is emphasized, but if ranks and status are equal, then the factor taken into consideration is age.
Legaspi further clarifies that examinations are to be taken all at the same time by students “to avoid leakages, undue influence, and undue knowledge.”
Nonetheless, violations in the schedule occur in some classes. Legaspi postulates that this happens because some professors may have personal reasons for ending the trimester early, or might have finished their lectures earlier on. One of the implications that Legaspi suggests could happen if an exam is held earlier than the scheduled date is that a “professor might not complete his or her required output in the syllabus,” given that syllabi are usually designed to cover 13 to 14 weeks.
He emphasizes the importance of the syllabus, stating that faculty members must ensure that they cover all the topics to be included in the final exam, especially if they choose to schedule it earlier. “The syllabus is like our contract to the students. We must not breach that,” he declares.
Legaspi further posits that a student may face a conflict of schedule between an early final exam and a regularly enrolled class. He reveals that in such a situation, a student would not be officially excused from either of the classes.
Experiences of teachers, students
Corazon (II, BSA) shares that in her experience, exams have always been scheduled well and that she has never experienced overlaps. However, she asserts the importance of coordination among different departments to avoid issues.
Julia (III, DSM) agrees, as she shares that given her three years in the University, no issues have been encountered with regard to exam scheduling. It is even viewed as a convenience, given that she is from the province. She explains that giving earlier examinations provides an opportunity to finish early, and to have a relatively longer break.
Similarly, Azel (III, DSM), explains that she also has had no experience of conflicts with exam scheduling. She highlighted that the scheduling does not usually affect her personal schedules, and points out that conflicts with scheduling could depend on which course a student takes.
According to Dr. Allen Surla, a professor in several development studies subjects, the examination scheduling serves as a protocol of the University to provide guidelines for both the students and the professors. It is said that it is not required to follow, as professors have different requirements and different methods of teaching.
He explains that based on his experience, he only gives one exam which is a midterm examination. However, he also changes modules for each subject that he teaches, and points out that the overall schedule will ultimately depend on what is agreed upon between the students, the University registrar, and the professor.
Requirements vary for each course, and the scheduling would simply serve as a basis for the students and the professors to determine what needs to be done before the end of the 14th week. In the event that students experience issues in the exam scheduling, they can always go to the OUR to apply for special final examinations.