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Iowa State Daily

Here’s the memo: Rules for prep week and finals week

Photo by Katherine Kealey
Beardshear Hall was constructed in 1906 and serves as the administration building at Iowa State University.

Finals week: a time to relax for some, a stressful time for others. For a more uniform process and an attempt to accommodate students, the university has policies in place. 

Check out guidelines to know about student rights during prep week and finals week:

Prep week welcomes new content, if a professor wishes. However, if a professor assigns mandatory graded work, it must be listed in the syllabus at the beginning of the semester, according to the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost

Registered organizations at Iowa State are not allowed to hold meetings or events during prep week, unless approved by the Office of the Senior Vice President for Student Affairs. 

The Instructor Guide for Foundation Communication Courses states the last week of classes, also known as prep week and formerly known as “dead week,” is “considered to be a normal week in the semester” but asks professors to consider guidelines.

The guide advises professors not to administer final examinations. The guide does encourage major course assignments such as research papers and projects to be due during prep week. 

The guide states that widespread violation of this policy could result in excessive student workloads at a time when they are typically preparing for final exams. 

Night exams

The Office of the Registrar limits night exams to multi-sectioned courses administering commonly developed examinations that are uniform. Instructors must offer the exam at another time if a student cannot attend due to a course conflict or “other legitimate reason.”

If a student has two exams at the same time, the instructor of the class with fewer students has the responsibility of arranging a make-up exam. Additionally, if a student has three finals on the same calendar day, they may reschedule one exam. 

Final exams that are double-scheduled must be requested to be rescheduled prior to the last day of class before prep week begins. 

The Office of the Registrar prohibits final exams given before finals week, except for labs and classes that meet once per week. Professors also may not change the time slot assigned for the final exam unless approved by the dean of the college the class is a part of, though not all classes have assigned exam times. 

Classes must still meet during the final exam time slot, even if an exam is not administered. 

The Daily highlighted some resources promoting student wellness in an article Sunday. 

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    Ellis Deputy | Nov 29, 2023 at 1:20 pm

    Hi Jay! I’m a current foundation instructor and also working on a project to revamp the resources that foundation instructors have available to them. I just wanted to make you and readers aware that the foundation instructor guide that you linked is out of date. Which, you wouldn’t have known that! Not your fault! I just thought it would be negligent of me not to bring this up, especially if other ISUComm instructors are reading this article.
    I can’t speak for the applicability of the article you referenced (this is my first year and I have not dealt with prep week before), but if anyone is looking at the rest of that instructor guide and expecting it to be good info, please know that it *does not necessarily apply* to current foundation instructors. It hasn’t been updated in years. I only know about this old instructor guide because of the refresh project I’m working on in my apprenticeship; current instructors aren’t shown this old guide because it’s so out of date.