B. Term Papers, Examinations, and Final Grades in Undergraduate Courses

1. General Considerations

a.    An examination not to exceed three hours is normally required in each course at the end of the term.

b.    All major requirements in a course should be clearly indicated to students at the outset. If there are changes, care must be taken to assure that all individuals enrolled in the course are informed.

c.    When instances of suspected plagiarism occur on term papers or projects, a report should be made to the Committee on Discipline through the Office of the Dean of Student Life.

d.    Specific procedures covering late completion of work in a course because of medical or other compelling reasons are set out in full in The Undergraduate Announcement: Academic Regulations.

2. Preparation of Final Examinations

a.    Final course examinations should be designed to enable a student to demonstrate a grasp of the subject of the course and thus should be based upon large parts of the syllabus rather than a restricted topic or special section.

b.    In a course taught by several instructors, responsibility for the final examination rests with the individual in charge who should, in turn, consult with her or his colleagues in the course.

c.     It is the obligation of those concerned with preparing an examination to ensure that copies of it do not fall into unauthorized hands in advance of the examination.

3. Conduct of Final Examinations

a.    The examination should be held at the time and place designated in the official schedule of examinations. Any changes in time or place must be authorized by the Office of the Registrar acting for the Committee on Classrooms and Schedule and the Committee on Examinations and Standing.

b.    The examination should begin promptly and end promptly at the designated times.

c.    If a student arrives late at an examination, there are procedures through which he or she may apply for a postponed examination (see The Undergraduate Announcement: Examinations, Tests).

       Alternatively, the student may, if he or she chooses, undertake to complete the examination within the remainder of the time allotted to the examination.

4. The Honor System

       All written examinations and tests are taken in accordance with the provisions of the Honor System. (The constitution and a description of the Honor System are given in The Undergraduate Announcement.) The provisions which immediately concern an officer of instruction in charge of an examination are the following:

a.    There shall be no proctorial supervision of examinations, but each student shall subscribe on her or his paper the following pledge:

       “I pledge my honor that I have not violated the Honor Code during this examination.”

b.    Suspected breaches of this pledge which come to the attention of the Faculty shall be reported immediately to the student Honor Committee.

c.    At the request of the student Honor Committee the following rules are to be observed at all examinations and tests taken under the Honor System:

  1. Students may not take an examination or written test in any place other than that regularly scheduled for the examination or test, except at the Infirmary, unless the instructor has granted specific permission, which must then also be granted to any other student who makes the same request.
  2. All students taking examinations should, as far as feasible, sit in alternate seats, refrain from bringing books and notes into the examination room, and avoid sitting near those with whom they have studied.
  3. Each student taking an examination or test should indicate the number of the seat he or she occupies in the room.
  4. The examiner shall insist that every student taking an examination or test write out the pledge and sign her or his name thereto.

5. Determination of Final Course Grades

a.    The final standing of a student in a course should be determined in consideration of the quality of the student’s overall participation in the course--not only on the basis of the final examination or other final exercise. The relative weight to be given to the elements is decided by the department concerned, except that in underclass courses the final examination may not be weighted more than fifty percent in calculating the final grade.

b.    When more than one instructor has responsibility for a course, the final grade of each student is determined by the group of instructors and reported to the Office of the Registrar by the instructor in charge of the course.

c.    In a course for which two or more instructors have responsibility, no final grade is to be regarded as definitely established until after consultation among the concerned members of the Faculty.

6. Reporting of Final Course Grades

a.    The final standing of each student in a course is reported to the Office of the Registrar, on a form provided for the purpose, as soon as possible after the scheduled final examination or, in courses that do not have final examinations, the deadline for submission of final papers or other final exercises, and in any case within the following limits: in courses involving less than twenty students the report is to be submitted within three days; in other courses the report is to be submitted within six days.

b.    Only the final grade in a course is reported to the Office of the Registrar but term grades and the final examination grade should be available if the Committee on Examinations and Standing requests information about marginal or failing students.

c.    If a student has been absent from the final examination or has not completed other major requirements, he or she is to be reported “Inc” (incomplete) only if the student has made arrangements through the Office of the Dean of the College to complete the course. Otherwise the student’s final grade is to be computed assuming that he or she has a failing grade on the final examination or other missing component(s). (See The Undergraduate Announcement: Academic Regulations.)

d.    When a student fails a course, the instructor submits to the Committee on Examinations and Standing a written report on the student's work. These reports are reviewed by the Committee before it places a student on academic probation or requires a student to withdraw from the University.

e.    After a final grade has been reported to the Office of the Registrar, any request for a change in the grade shall be made by the instructor in charge of the course. A request for a change of grade must include an adequate statement of grounds on which it is made. The Committee on Examinations and Standing reviews all requests for changes of grade.

f.     If a student so requests, an instructor should go over a student’s examination paper with him or her so that the student may have a clearer idea of his or her strengths and weaknesses.

g.    The University considers the academic record of each student to represent highly personal information properly available for use within the University only by appropriate persons. For a full statement of the University’s policies concerning the confidentiality of student records, see the “University Privacy Policy and Procedures” statement, available from the Office of the Secretary. Also see Section V.F. above.

7. Rescheduling of Final Examinations

a.    The registrar, acting for the Committee on Examinations and Standing, may authorize a student to take an examination up to 24 hours before or after the scheduled examination time. Appropriate reasons for granting such requests are religious days, personal emergencies, and more than one examination scheduled in a single calendar day. Examinations will normally be rescheduled during the 24 hours after the scheduled examination time; examinations will be rescheduled during the 24-hour period before the regularly scheduled time only in the most unusual and compelling circumstances. In no such cases will a faculty member be required to administer the examination more than twice. This provision does not preclude additional administrations of an examination by the registrar or other responsible individuals designated by the registrar.

b.    The Office of the Dean of the College, acting for the Committee on Examinations and Standing may authorize rescheduled final examinations beyond the 24-hour period on the basis of applications from individual students. (See The Undergraduate Announcement: Academic Regulations.) Responsibility for all arrangements connected with such examinations is taken by the Office of the Registrar. Postponed final examinations for the fall term courses will be scheduled during the third week of spring term classes, and for spring term courses, during the week preceding the beginning of the next fall term.

c.    Final grades are normally reporting using the letters A, B, C, D, and F. Members of the Faculty may, at their discretion, report pluses and minuses with A’s, B’s, and C’s. P’s may be reported in courses offered exclusively on a pass/D/fail basis. (The Office of the Registrar will convert letter grades of C- or higher to P’s in the case of individual students electing courses under the pass/D/fail option.) The A+ should be regarded as an exceptional grade reserved for work of extraordinary merit. A faculty member who awards the grade of A+ must submit to the Committee on Examinations and Standing a written report explaining how the student’s course work or independent work meets the instructor’s standards for truly outstanding work. A+ statements become a part of students’ permanent records and will be made available to them as a matter of course. The statements may be reviewed by University committees making decisions about academic honors, awards, and prizes, and by administrators and faculty preparing institutional recommendations for applicants to medical school and institutional endorsements for candidates in national fellowship competitions.

d.    When a postponed final examination has been authorized in a course, the instructor in charge of the course is notified of the fact and given a list of students who are entitled to take the examination. The instructor in charge prepares a question paper as soon as possible and sends it to the Office of the Registrar. At the same time the instructor informs the Office of the Registrar which member of the Faculty will read the completed examinations. If examinations are to be read by another member of the Faculty, the instructor in charge of the course provides a list of students expected to take the examination together with their grades in the course exclusive of the final examination.

e.    Rescheduled final examinations are conducted under the supervision of the Committee on Examinations and Standing by the Office of the Registrar acting for the Committee.

f.     Regular final grades are assigned to each student on the basis of the completed rescheduled examination. If not completed by the stipulated deadline, a failing grade is assigned to the examination and an appropriate final grade reported.

8. Academic Warning

       At the end of each academic term, the Committee on Examinations and Standing is responsible for issuing academic warnings to students whose records indicate either poor overall standing or particular weaknesses, e.g., in departmental independent work. Formal academic warnings are normally issued only at the end of a term. The record of a student who has received a warning will be reviewed by the Committee at the end of the following term, and its judgment reported to the student.