As the end of the school year approaches, stress levels are on the rise. Students expect to get a reprieve during dead week, but at ISU, that’s not always the case.
“I expect teachers to stop giving new assignments,” said freshman Brooke Davis, majoring in exercise science. “I think all professors should be reviewing the semester’s material for both class periods during dead week so students have more time to focus on finals and not other assignments.”
This is a common idea of what students think dead week should be. However, the ISU policy, which has been in place for at least 25 years, paints a different picture.
According to the ISU policy on dead week, only required tests and quizzes that will affect a student’s overall grade in the class are prohibited. This policy does not apply to night classes, performance sections, eight week courses, graduate level courses and activities or summer sessions.
“There’s definitely a disconnect in what students believe about dead week and what actually goes on. Students think ‘oh, dead week. We don’t have to go to class or learn anything new,” said Derek Viall, a senior double-majoring in biology and psychology. “Non-realistically, it would be nice to have a week where we don’t have to go to class to study, but realistically, it just adds another week of school and honestly, most students wouldn’t use the time to study anyway,” he continued.
Freshman Alex Huerta, a pre-law major, believes the university should provide resources to prepare students for final exams, such as forms of special tutoring, and thinks scheduling due dates during dead week is ineffective.
“It makes students use their review time to finish assignments that could easily be scheduled the prior week,” Huerta said.
“I think that students believe that nothing should be happening during dead week, but that’s not what happens,” said Andrew Turner, a senior majoring in physics.
Students can make a request to have the policy amended, but the pathway isn’t always clear.
“Possibly the first step would be to consult with an ASISU senator,” said Joann Hertz, director of Central Academic Advising. “Explain the problem, identify the desired change, and ask if the student senate would consider developing a proposal to submit to the faculty senate for review.”
Students are also directed to the Office of Student Affairs or to contact department chairs to report concerns related to dead week.
Kris Clarkson, Director of Student Life, described the dead week policy at other universities he has worked at. Those universities have a designated day without classes or quizzes, known as a study day or reading day, before finals begin.
“Anything is possible,” Clarkson said, “but change seems to come slowly in higher education.”