OPINION: Students should discuss dead week tests before it’s too late



Dead week is already a stressful time for students without having to worry about surprise quizzes or tests that aren’t supposed to be allowed.

BRUCE MULMAT, Evergreen columnist

Dead week is coming quicker than you think, happening right after Thanksgiving Break. This week is a rough time for students who are preparing for their various finals, especially as we’re just coming back from relaxing and de-stressing. 

Dead week is intended to be a calm before the storm, where teachers are not supposed to give tests or quizzes. However, some teachers don’t follow this rule. To give yourself time to prepare for finals, it is imperative to discuss this issue with your teacher or the department of the class you are taking.

 “No examinations or quizzes other than laboratory examinations, makeup examinations and makeup quizzes may be given during the last week of instruction,” said Senior Assistant Registrar Becky Bitter, citing Academic Regulation 78. 

While this regulation covers how dead week is supposed to be implemented, the administration and the Office of the Registrar are actually the last step in resolving dead week examinations. 

“There is no way for anyone to police this, except for the departments,” Bitter said. “The department makes sure that all of their instructors are sure on what the policy is.”

It is up to the students to advocate for themselves and ensure that they will not have exams or quizzes during dead week. This means that students who need to discuss dead week tests should instead go to the head of a department, which might be easier than trying to contact WSU administration. 

“I’ve had teachers that would assign a test during times that are not exactly the best,” Zach Sims, junior construction engineering major said. “Within classes that would normally get paired together there would be two very hard tests on the same day.”

No matter what people think about dead week, academic success depends on students being willing to take charge and advocate for themselves. Teachers and departments won’t do anything unless someone comes out to say something. 

“When people come asking for information, I point them to the right places to go,” Bitter said. “It is up to the students to start the conversation on this issue.”

The correct procedure to discuss tests during dead week is to contact your teacher first, then go to the department, and if necessary move on to WSU administration. However, this path can be difficult for some students.

“I recognize that it can be a little intimidating to ask an instructor about a policy when you’re going to be graded by the instructor and when you don’t want to have any bad feelings,” Bitter said.

If your teacher isn’t following the rules, the only way to deal with it is to confront them, which can be hard for many students. There is an option that can be used, the Ombudsman. This is an office within WSU designed to be an impartial and neutral party to help settle disagreements.

Students have access to their syllabi week one. Go through them all and if you see discrepancies with certain classes be sure to bring them up immediately.  It is up to you to make change occur if your teacher isn’t following the rules.

There are ways for students to get the help they need in starting these conversations. However, students are not having these talks. Many of them want to wait until it’s too late. Now is the perfect time to start on this process. Starting in advance increases your chances of success.

To create the change they want, students need to make the first move. Go to the department chair or the Ombudsman if you need to. You might save your future self some hassle.