Calendar tightens reading period

Students hoping to cram a semester’s worth of course work into the reading period may have to battle the clock next week because GW’s calendar only offers a two-day hiatus before the beginning of exam period.

GW’s academic calendar, which is planned several years in advance, lists next Monday as the last day of classes and Thursday as the first day of exams.

Craig Linebaugh, associate vice president of Academic Planning, said the two-day reading period is no shorter than it was in past semesters, but the calendar prohibited the University from pairing the period with a weekend.

Linebaugh said GW creates its academic calendar so that classes start the week before Labor Day, students get a break from classes on Columbus Day and the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and that final examination period ends no later than Dec. 23.

Working within these restrictions makes it difficult to plan reading days next to a weekend because University rules require administrators to schedule 14 weeks of classes each semester.

It’s been several years ago that the University committed itself to 14 weeks (of classes), said Linebaugh, who said that classes were 13 weeks long in the past. It was simply felt that 13 (weeks) were inadequate from a pedagogical and learning standpoint.

Some students said a two-day reading period is not long enough.

I think it’s crazy, said freshman Karen Morchower, who has exams next Thursday, Friday and Monday. I don’t think it’s healthy for students.

Morchower said she would like to have at least four to five days off to prepare for her exams.

SA Senator Josh Rothstein (U-CSAS), chair of the Academic Affairs committee, said he plans to propose creating a longer reading period at the next committee meeting.

I think there should be a minimum of 4 days from the end of classes to the beginning of exam week, Rothstein said. I really think they would be better off not having class on Monday because that would give about six days to study.

Linebaugh said administrators had a difficult time scheduling a make-up day for cancelled classes.

(Saturday) is a fluke, Linebaugh said. We did get a query from people observing Sabbath on Saturday, but we will do everything to schedule make-up classes at other times when students can go.

Linebaugh said the only other alternatives were eliminating the make-up day or pushing back exams.

Linebaugh said the calendar was the best option available under the current constraints.

It allows you to phase your studying, he said. It really becomes a time-management issue.

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