Final Exam Policy

 

A.  General Principles Governing Culminating Assignments

  1. All regularly scheduled classes must include a culminating assignment in the form of a final written exam, written assignment, oral exam, or comparable activity. Exceptions are permitted only with the approval of the Provost.
  2. The exam time for a course is designated by letter code in the course information on WebAdvisor. The schedule of final examinations for the ensuing academic year is included in the Academic Calendar published online by the Registrar’s Office.
  3. Examination periods are three hours in length. Students shall be given the full three hours to complete a final exam unless the syllabus specifies a shorter time period. However, students granted extra time for accommodations shall receive any additional time to which they are entitled.
  4. The time and date that an alternative final assessment, such as a term paper or take-home final, is due should be stated in the syllabus and must be no earlier than the starting time of the scheduled final for the course.

B. Principles Governing the Timing of Tests and Examinations

  1. All hour-tests should be scheduled as soon as possible in the semester, they should be announced to class at least a week before they are given.
  2. No hour-tests or final written examination may be given during the last five weekdays before classes end in any semester. Hour-tests and final examinations may not be given on study days.
  3. If a written assignment is used in place of a final examination, in no case should an instructor require a student to hand in the written assignment before the time period originally scheduled for the final examination of that course. If no final examination period has been scheduled for a course, the written assignment may not be due prior to noon on the second day of examinations.
  4. After an hour-test or examination has been taken by a student, no re-examination is permitted. This regulation should not be construed as prohibiting the retaking of hurdle examinations under self-paced instructional systems such as the Keller method.

C. Principles governing Take-Home Examinations

  1. Instructors should make clear the ground-rules for take-home tests given during or at the end of the semester: the amount of time allowed for the writing of the examination, whether the examinations are to be taken with open or closed books, whether or not students are allowed to collaborate and the nature of that collaboration, and when the examinations are due.
  2. Out of fairness to students who must allocate study time among several courses, the time required for students to prepare and complete take-home examinations should be comparable to the time spend studying for and taking in-class examinations.
  3. Take-home finals may be handed out during the last week of classes. In no case should an instructor require a student to hand in a take-home examination before the time period originally scheduled for the final examination of that course. If no final examination period has been scheduled for a course, the exam may not be due prior to noon on the second day of examinations.

D. Principles Governing Culminating Assignments for Module A and Module B Courses

  1. Module A courses shall follow the principles outlined here to the maximum extent possible, recognizing that many of the principles assume a final examination period at the end of the full semester.
  2. Final examinations in Module A courses shall be scheduled in advance by the instructor to take place in the eighth week of the semester. As this overlaps with both full semester courses and Module B courses, it is not possible to centrally schedule exam times. Given this, Module A instructors may need to schedule several final examinations to accommodate complex student schedules, but every effort should be made to find one, common final exam period.
  3. For Module A courses, ONLY final written exams, written assignments, oral exams, or comparable activity may be scheduled in the eighth week of the semester; regular class sessions may not.
  4. Module B courses are subject to all the principles outlined for full semester courses.

E. Principles Governing Exceptions to Final Examination Schedules

Students are required to arrange travel and vacation plans to allow them to take all exams at the scheduled time.

Exceptions are permitted only in the following circumstances:

  1. Three final exams scheduled for the same day.
  2. A documented disability for which the appropriate accommodation requires a change in exam time.
  3. A required religious observance that might limit a student’s ability to perform on a final examination.
  4. Extraordinary extenuating circumstances.

Special exceptions shall be given after careful consideration of the circumstances presented by the student. All requests for exam changes should be made prior to the last week of classes. Requests for exam changes after this date shall only be considered in cases of unforeseen personal or family emergencies.

Rationale:

  1. Undue strain is placed on the Honor Code when multiple examinations are administered at multiple times.
  2. Undue pressure is placed on faculty to be available for an additional exam administration and possibly to construct a different version of the exam. In the latter case, consistency in exam difficulty and grading becomes a concern.
  3. Inconsistency among individual faculty policies creates a real and perceived unfairness in how students are treated, and lenience by one faculty member places pressure on other faculty members to do the same.
  4. Some exams are simply  not amendable to multiple administrations. (Example: lab practicums, final presentations).

Additional Information

  1. Three final exams scheduled for the same day.

Students requesting an exception under #1 above should contact the instructors for ALL of the courses in which they have examinations on the same day AND the Office of the Registrar so that a fair decision may be made as to which examination to reschedule. Both the course instructor and the Registrar would need to agree that an exception is warranted in the particular case. All requests for exam changes should be made prior to the last week of classes. Requests for exam changes after this date shall only be considered in cases of unforeseen personal or family emergencies.

2. A documented disability for which the appropriate accommodation requires a change in exam time.

Students with a documented disability are encouraged to discuss any accommodations to which they are entitled with the course instructor early in the semester. If the need arises to request taking the final examination at a time other than that indicated in the Academic Schedule, students must receive approval from the course instructor. If necessary, the instructor may consult with the Office of Disability Services and/or the chairperson of the department in which the student is requesting the time exception. All requests for exam changes should be made pror to the last week of classes.

3. A required religious observance that might limit a student’s ability to perform on a final examination.

Students requesting an examination schedule change due to a required religious observance are encouraged to discuss the matter with the course instructor early in the semester. Students whose required religious observance would impede their ability to perform on a final examination may request faculty to make reasonable accommodations. For example, students who are fasting may request permission to take a final exam at a time when they are well fed and hydrated in order to perform at their best. The Office of Spiritual and Religious Life will annually publish a list of possible conflicts between Module A and semester final examinations and religious observances on its website. If necessary, the instructor may consult with the Office of Spiritual and Religious Life and/or the chairperson of the department in which the student is requesting the time exception. All requests for exam changes should be made prior to the last week of classes.

4. Extraordinary extenuating circumstances.

Students requesting an exception under #4 above should contact the instructors of ALL of the courses in which they wish to request an exception due to extraordinary extenuating circumstances AND the Office of the Registrar so that a consistent decision may be made as to the request. Both the course instructor and the Registrar would need to agree that an exception is warranted in the particular case.

Circumstances Which Are Usually Not Approved:

  • Two exams are scheduled for the same day.
  • The student is offered a ride home before a scheduled exam time.
  • The student claims the need to begin a job or program before a scheduled exam time. In the past, this reason has not been acceptable for the changing of an exam unless the employer wrote or called indicating that the date was a definite factor relative to the employment of the student.

Circumstances Which Have Normally Received Approval:

  • Various unique requests relating to physical and mental health. (Example: sickness of mother, father).

This policy is under the purview of the Academic Standards Committee. Changes are subject to a vote of the Faculty

(May 2019)