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Examinations

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Midterms

Classes that give midterm examinations outside of regular class hours must:

  1. announce the date and time during the first week of the academic quarter, and
  2. provide reasonable alternative times to those students who have another class or other University commitment at that time.

According to Honor Code interpretations and applications, different examinations may be given at these alternative times.

End-Quarter Policy Statement

The End-Quarter Period is a time of reduced social and extracurricular activity preceding final examinations. Its purpose is to permit students to concentrate on academic work and to prepare for final examinations.

In Autumn, Winter, and Spring quarters, End-Quarter starts seven full days (to begin at 12:01 a.m.) prior to the first day of final exams. In Spring Quarter, final examinations begin on Friday; no classes are held on Thursday, the day before. In Summer Quarter, this consists of the weekend and the four class days preceding the final examinations, which take place on Friday and Saturday of the eighth week. (See the Time Schedule for dates.)

During the End-Quarter Period, classes are regularly scheduled and assignments made; this regular class time is used by instructors in whatever way seems best suited to the completion and summation of course material. Instructors should neither make extraordinary assignments nor announce additional course meetings in order to "catch up" in course presentations that have fallen behind. They are free, however, and even encouraged to conduct optional review sessions and to suggest other activities that might seem appropriate for students preparing for final examinations.

No graded homework assignments, mandatory quizzes, or examinations should be given during the End-Quarter Period except:

  1. In classes where graded homework assignments or quizzes are routine parts of the instruction process.
  2. In classes with laboratories where the final examination will not test the laboratory component. In such a case, the laboratory session(s) during the End-Quarter Period may be used to examine students on that aspect of the course.

Major papers or projects about which the student has had reasonable notice may be called due in the End-Quarter Period.

Take-home final examinations, given in place of the officially scheduled in-class examination, may be distributed in the End-Quarter Period. Although the instructor may ask students to return take-home examinations early in the final examination period, the instructor may not call them due until the end of the regularly scheduled examination time for that course. Such a policy respects the principle that students' final examinations are to be scheduled over a period of several days.

End-quarter examinations may not be held during this period. This policy preserves the instruction time for courses and protects the students' opportunities for extensive review and synthesis of their courses.

During the End-Quarter Period, no musical, dramatic, or athletic events involving student participation may be scheduled, unless approved as exceptions by the Committee on Undergraduate Standards and Policy (C-USP), nor may routine committee meetings be scheduled (such as those of the ASSU, the Senate of the Academic Council, or the committees of the President of the University) when such meetings normally would involve student participation.

Note—Students who believe that there are faculty who are violating End-Quarter policy should contact the Office of the University Registrar.

End-Quarter Examinations

Examinations are part of the process of education at the same time that they are a means to measure the student's performance in course work. Their structure, content, frequency, and length are to be determined in accordance with the nature of the course and the material presented in it, subject only to the limitations contained herein.

Great flexibility is available regarding the types of examinations that an instructor may choose to employ. Examinations, including final examinations, may be, for example, in-class essay examinations, take-home essay examinations, objective examinations, oral examinations, or appropriate substitutes such as papers or projects. Instructors may use any type of examination, paper, or project, or any combination thereof, guided only by the appropriateness of the types of examinations, papers, or projects for the material upon which the student is being examined.

When the final examination is an in-class examination, the following regulations apply:

  1. A three-hour period is reserved during examination week for the final examination in each course of more than 2 units. This examination period must be available for students, but not necessarily in its entirety, if an in-class examination is given. In courses with extraordinary meeting times, such that ambiguity might exist as regards the period reserved for the final examination, the schedule should be clarified and students informed no later than the end of the second week of the quarter.
  2. Examinations in 1- or 2-unit courses must be completed by the end of the last class meeting before the End-Quarter Period, except in Summer Quarter when examinations must be completed during the last regularly scheduled class session.

When the final examination or its appropriate substitute is not an in-class examination (for example, when an instructor chooses to employ a take-home examination, paper, or project in lieu of an in-class examination), the following regulations apply:

  1. The schedule and format of the final examination or its appropriate substitute are made known not later than the end of the second week of the quarter and, if changed subsequently, may be only an option of the plan originally announced by the instructor.
  2. Although the instructor may ask students to return take-home examinations early in the final examination period, the instructor may not call them due until the end of the regularly scheduled examination time for that course.

In submitting official Study Lists, students commit to all course requirements, including the examination procedures chosen and announced by the course instructor. In choosing courses, students should take cognizance of the official schedule of final examinations announced on the Registrar's web site. Students anticipating conflicts in final examination schedules should seek to resolve these with the instructors involved before the Preliminary Study List deadline at the beginning of the quarter. If accommodation cannot be made at that time, the student should revise his or her Study List before the Final Study List deadline at the end of the third week of the quarter in order to be able to meet the required final examination.

If unforeseen circumstances prevent the student from sitting for the regularly scheduled examination, instructors should make alternative arrangements on an individual basis. Such unforeseen circumstances include illness, personal emergency, or the student's required participation in special events (for example, athletic championships) approved as exceptions by the Committee on Undergraduate Standards and Policy (C-USP). Inquiries regarding these circumstances may be directed to the office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, via the office of Academic Advising, Sweet Hall.

Statement Concerning Early Examinations

Students are reminded that taking final examinations earlier than the scheduled time is a privilege, not a right. They should request this privilege only in the event of extraordinary circumstances.

Since the final examination schedule for each quarter is published annually on the Registrar's web site at the time of course selection and enrollment, students are expected to make their academic plans in light of known personal circumstances that may make certain examination times difficult for them.

In general, faculty members are discouraged from giving final examinations earlier than the published and announced times. If faculty nevertheless decide to administer early examinations, either the questions should be completely different from those on the regularly scheduled examination or the early examination should be administered in a highly controlled setting. An example of such a setting would be a campus seminar room where the examination questions would be collected along with students' work and students would be reminded of their Honor Code obligations not to share information about the examination contents. Giving students easy opportunities to abuse the integrity of an examination is unfair to honest students and inconsistent with the spirit of the Honor Code.

Academic fields differ in the degree to which early examination requests present dilemmas for faculty. If, for example, an examination format consists of a small number of essay questions, where students would be greatly advantaged by knowing the question topics, faculty should be especially reluctant to allow early examinations unless they are willing to offer totally different examinations or a different kind of academic task, for example, a final paper in lieu of an examination.