For Veronica Canchucaja, the week prior to final exams is
anything but dead.
“I’ve had a couple of quizzes, a couple of tests and pretty much
all-new info in my classes,” said Canchucaja, a senior biology
While some universities regulate the amount of new information
professors may present to students and relax student-attendance
policies for the week before finals, CSU does not.
“I think that the week before finals should be review,”
Canchucaja said. “There is no way to learn new material plus a
whole semester worth of material in a few days before finals.”
CSU’s undergraduate catalog states that “no class examination
constituting more than 10 percent of the final course grade may be
given in undergraduate courses during the week preceding the final
examination period of the semester.”
Scott Simpson, a speech communication lecturer, has been
introducing new material relevant to previous course information in
his classes during the last week of classes and expects his
students to rise to the occasion.
“I know other schools, some upper-tier schools, use dead week
and it works for them, but I think whatever boundaries you set-up,
students will go to those boundaries,” he said.
Smith said he believes it is beneficial to make the last day of
class a review session, but he also said many students do not
attend optional reviews, which traditional dead weeks encourage in
place of class time.
“My fear with dead week is that students would see it as a free
week to do whatever – head to the mountains, visit family, party –
rather than take it as a time to study for exams,” Smith said.
Cecily Miller, a junior political science major, agreed that
students would manipulate of an official dead week.
“The way students are I think that some would be concerned about
grades and attend reviews, but I think a lot of students would blow
it off and just think they’ll review at home,” Miller said.
With these fears in mind, many universities have adopted a
mainstream approach to the week before final examinations.
Howard Shapiro, vice provost for undergraduate programs at Iowa
State University, said ISU’s official dead-week policies were
negotiated to meet student and faculty desires.
“We had one for many years informally. Students requested a
reading period, where they would have no classes before exams, but
that was rejected. We didn’t want to reduce to class time, so we
compromised,” Shapiro said.
ISU’s dead-week guidelines encourage faculty to give students
time to prepare for their final examinations by not allowing
professors to assign, modify or have major assignments due during
the week prior to finals.
“We can’t really tell teachers what to do, that’s true, but they
are always subject to review if they are unreasonable,” Shapiro
Pat Byrne, an associate professor of soil and crop sciences at
CSU, said he believes a schedule for the final week of classes
should depend on the individual course.
“I only teach one graduate-level course and it has four students
and I assume that my students are interested in the topic,” Byrne
said. “I am trying to provide full classes and then we have one day
of student presentations and they have a take-home final.”
While many CSU professors treat the week prior to final exams as
a regular week of school, Brandon Beam, a senior computer
information systems major, said his last week of classes has been
“It seems like we’re closing things up,” Beam said. “It is
really light for me this week as far as a workload and my teachers
are not introducing anything new.”
Regardless of CSU policy, Season Rohlman, a senior microbiology
and anthropology major, said that while dead week would be a
welcome addition, the results of finals are up to individual
“It all depends on the person,” Rohlman said. “People who would
use dead week to party, the people who would waste it, are the same
people that would not study for finals anyway.”