Academic courses: class delivery, examinations, and assessment of student learning

Academic Affairs

Responsibility: University Registrar / Director of Student Services
Authorization: University Council
Approval Date: May 19, 2011
Amended: Mar 1, 2012 / Mar 1, 2013

Revisions

Permit the first day of exams to be one day after the last day of lectures (approved January, 2012

Delete the Withdraw Fail grade effective May 1, 2012 (approved March, 2012)
Revised Course Syllabus section;  additional section on Class Recordings (approved March 2013)

Updates: December 2012 to incorporate terminology used in the Council policy on  Student Appeals of Evaluation, Grading and Academic Standing and the Procedures for Student Appeals in Academic Matters.  March 2013 to incorporate Nomenclature Report terminology on courses and classes.

Effective date of this policy: September 1, 2011

Purpose

The purpose of the Academic Courses Policy is to prescribe university-level requirements for delivery of academic classes, and assessment of student learning including conduct of examinations.

Principles

Saskatchewan envisions one of its primary purposes to optimize learning opportunities for students.

Assessment of student learning should be a fair and transparent process which follows university, college and department regulations so that students are treated respectfully and impartially across the institution. This includes accommodation for students with special needs, in accordance with university policies and regulations and provincial legislation.

As articulated in the University of Saskatchewan Learning Charter, students will be provided with a clear indication of what is expected in the class, and what they can do to be successful in achieving the learning objectives of the course. Assessments of student learning will be transparent, applied consistently, and congruent with course objectives. Students will receive prompt and constructive feedback on their learning progress at regular intervals throughout the class.

The University encourages and celebrates innovation in class delivery and student assessment. It is necessary that these be conducted using effective, transparent and fair procedures.

Scope of this Policy

This document incorporates all of the policies, rules and procedures relating to course delivery and student assessment which have been previously approved by University Council in various policy documents and reports.

It supersedes the following documents previously approved by University Council:
April, 2009 Academic Programs Committee Examination Regulations
April, 2001 Academic Programs Committee policies for final grades reporting
January, 2001 Academic Programs Committee retroactive withdrawal policy
September, 1986 – University of Saskatchewan Grading policy

It complements and maintains the principles expressed in the following documents:
June, 1999 Guidelines for Academic Conduct
June, 2007 Teaching and Learning Committee Student Evaluation of Instructors/Courses
June, 2010 University of Saskatchewan Learning Charter
University Nomenclature Report 2011
January, 2012 Disability Services for Students Academic Accommodation and Access for Students with Disabilities
Student Enrolment Services Division Instructors and Staff Handbook
Information and Communications Technology Lecture Capture

All regulations covering class delivery, student assessment and examinations have been developed into a framework with three levels of authority and responsibility: University, College and Department. Within the framework of this courses policy,departments and colleges may develop additional regulations and procedures for course delivery and student assessment. For example, colleges and departments may develop a template for the syllabus to be used by their instructors.

In Colleges where there is an alternate approved academic calendar, regulations covering student assessment and examinations shall be developed by the College in a manner consistent with these University regulations.

All references to “Department Heads” in this document would, in non-departmentalized colleges, apply to the Dean instead. The Open Studies Faculty Council functions as the College for students in Open Studies.

Policy

This policy covers policies, rules and procedures governing the following aspects of class delivery and student assessment, including conduct of examinations.

I. Class Delivery

  1. Course syllabus

  2. Contact hours and availability of instructors

  3. Student attendance

  4. Course evaluation by students

  5. Class recordings

II. Assessment of Students

  1. Grading System

    1. Fairness in evaluation

    2. Weighting in course grades

    3. Grade descriptors

    4. Academic grading standards

    5. Average calculations

    6. Grading deadlines

  2. Examinations

    1. Methods and types of examinations

    2. Mid-term examinations

    3. Final examinations

      1. Modification of requirement to hold a final examination

      2. Final examination period and scheduling

      3. Conduct and invigilation

      4. Accessibility of examination papers

  3. Student Assessment Issues and Special Circumstances

    1. Final grade alternatives and comments

    2. Withdrawal

    3. Retroactive Withdrawal
    4. Incomplete course work (assignments and examinations) and Incomplete Fail (INF)

    5. Deferred final examinations

    6. Supplemental final examinations

    7. Aegrotat standing

    8. Examinations with Disability Services for Students (DSS)

  4. Procedures for Grade Disputes

    1. Grade dispute between instructor and department head or dean

    2. Grade dispute between instructor and student

Authority and Responsibility

Under the Bylaws of University Council (Section 3, VIII, 2), all matters respecting the subjects, time and mode of the examinations and respecting the degrees and distinctions to be conferred by the University shall be provided for by Council regulations.

Academic course regulations at all levels shall be publicly accessible to all members of the University community. If a college or department has additional regulations, these must be made available to students. There should also be provisions at each level of authority for periodic review and amendment of these regulations.

University:
University regulations will prevail in the absence of other College or Departmental regulations. In the case of a discrepancy between University regulations and College or Departmental regulations, University regulations will take precedence. Any College requesting an exception, change or addition to these Regulations is to submit a proposal to the Academic Programs Committee for approval.

Colleges and Departments:
Council, while retaining the final authority over assessment of student learning, delegates to Colleges the responsibility of establishing general policies concerning the methods and types of assessment which may be employed by the Departments of that College, and each Department should establish any further instructions and policies for its members as necessary.

Instructors and Departments:
It is the responsibility of the instructor and Department Head to report final grades to the Registrar in accordance with the regulations outlined here. Instructors will use prescribed grade descriptors or grade comments if required.

The final grade report, prepared by the instructor, must be approved by the Department Head, or Dean in non-departmentalized Colleges.


University of Saskatchewan
Academic Courses Policy on class delivery, examinations & assessment of student learning

NOTE:  University Council Policies are shown in italic font.   Rules and procedures are shown in regular font.

I.  Class Delivery                    

The Teaching and Learning Foundational Document encourages alternative approaches to class delivery such as improved information communication technologies, experiential learning opportunities and self-learning strategies.    Regardless of methodology, there are universal elements of class delivery that ensure appropriate learning opportunities are provided to the students of the University of Saskatchewan.

1.  Course syllabus                

The syllabus is a public document that provides details about a particular offering of a class for enrolled students.  It is also useful for recruiting prospective students and sharing information about University of Saskatchewan courses with the broader community. Instructors must make the syllabus available to Department Heads prior to the start of the course, and to all enrolled students at the beginning of the class. 

Syllabi should be posted on the Blackboard Open Courseware site or a publically accessible departmental website.

Content of the syllabus:

Instructors shall indicate the following in their course syllabus:

  • expected learning outcomes or learning objectives for the course;
  • the type and schedule of term assignments, with approximate due dates;
  • notice if any mid-term examinations or other required class activities are scheduled outside of usual class times;
  • the type and schedule of mid-term or like examinations;
  • relative marking weight of all assignments and examinations;
  • procedures for dealing with missed or late assignments or examinations;
  • whether any or all of the work assigned in a class including any assignment, examination, or final examination, is mandatory for passing the class;
  • attendance expectations if applicable, the means by which attendance will be monitored, the consequences of not meeting attendance expectations, and their contribution to the  assessment process;
  • participation expectations if applicable, the means by which participation will be monitored and evaluated, the consequences of not meeting participation expectations, and their contribution to the assessment process;
  • contact information and consultation availability;
  • location of rules and guidelines for both academic misconduct and appeal procedures;
  • course or class website URL, if used;
  • notice of whether the instructor intends to record lectures and whether students are permitted to record lectures
Instructors are encouraged to use the Course Syllabus Template and Guide.

Addition of new assignments, quizzes or examinations -  “No Surprises” Rule 

After the distribution of the syllabus, no major graded assignment, quiz or examination is to be newly assigned in a class unless no student objects.  

Change of final examination date: 

Once the Registrar has scheduled final examinations for a term, instructors wanting to change the date and/or time of their final examination must obtain the consent of all students in the class according to procedures established by the Registrar, as well as authorization from the Department Head, or Dean in non-departmentalized Colleges. 

2.  Contact hours and availability of instructors    

The “traditional” three credit unit lecture course involves approximately 39 direct lecture hours and a further equivalent contact time (i.e. 39 hours) in student  consultations and/or tutorial laboratory sessions. 

Availability of instructor:

Instructors should make it known to the students through the course syllabus how they can be contacted to arrange for one-on-one consultation about course material.  These need not be face-to-face meetings but can include, for instance, responses to queries through email or other electronic media. Instructors should inform students about how quickly they can expect an email response.

It is recognized that there is a growing trend to develop and deliver non-traditional courses, including practicum laboratories, capstone design and Internet based courses.  For equivalent credit units, it is expected that both the instructors and students of these courses will regard the interaction, instructor availability and course workload to be equivalent to that of a traditional lecture course.

 3.  Student attendance            

Regular and punctual attendance in their classes is expected of all students (including lectures, seminars, laboratories, tutorials, etc.).

If an attendance requirement is applicable and is stated in the syllabus, students who fail to meet attendance expectations can suffer grade penalties that may result in failure of the class, as stated in the syllabus.

Permission to attend lectures:

No person may gain the benefit of instruction in a class without being duly registered in the class either as a credit or audit student. 

Students who are not registered in a class cannot attend the class for any significant period of time.  Instructors must advise students who are not on their class list that they need to be registered for their class, either as a credit or audit student

Instructors are permitted to invite individuals to attend a class for pedagogical and other reasons related to the delivery of the class (for example, guest lecturers, professional observers or mentors, teaching or marking assistants, laboratory or tutorial assistants, and so forth.

No credit unless registered:

Unless students are registered in a class, they will not receive credit for the course.

4.  Course evaluation  by students       

Improvement of class delivery is an on-going responsibility of all instructors. 

Student feedback is an important source of information to help guide instructors in their search for improved delivery mechanisms.   

 At the University of Saskatchewan, all classes will be evaluated by students on a regular basis using an approved evaluation tool.

5. Class Recordings

he University is committed to providing accessibility and flexibility for student learning and seeks to foster knowledge creation and innovation. Recording of lectures and other classroom activities can contribute to these goals.

Classes at the University of Saskatchewan may be recorded for learning or research purposes, subject to the rules and procedures stated in this policy.

With permission of instructors, presenters, and students, and following the procedures listed below, the University of Saskatchewan supports and encourages the audio and video recording of lectures and other learning activities for purposes of teaching, learning and research.

Privacy, permission and consent 
The “classroom” is considered to be a private space accessible only by members of a class, where student and instructor alike can expect to interact in a safe and supportive environment. Recording of lectures or other classroom activities should not infringe on privacy rights of individuals.

Intellectual Property and copyright
Class recordings are normally the intellectual property of the person who has made the presentation in the class. Ordinarily, this person would be the instructor. Copyright provides the presenter with the legal right to control the use of his or her own creations. Class recordings may not be copied, reproduced, redistributed, or edited by anyone without permission of the presenter except as allowed under law.

Accommodation for students with disabilities
When an accommodation for recording lectures or classroom activities is authorized by Disability Services for Students, an instructor shall permit an authorized student to record classroom activity; only the student with the accommodation would have access to this recording

5.1 Definitions

Definition of “presenter”:
For the purposes of this section, a presenter is defined as any individual who by arrangement of the course instructor will provide instruction to students in the class. In addition to the course instructor, presenters might include guest lecturers, students, tutorial leaders, laboratory instructors, clinical supervisors, teacher trainers, and so forth.

Definition of “classroom”:
For the purposes of this section, a classroom is defined as any room or virtual location where students are directed to meet as part of course requirements. This includes tutorials, laboratories and web-conferences which are required elements of a course, but does not include study groups and other voluntary student activities.

Definition of “learning activities”:
For the purposes of this section, a learning activity is any gathering of students and instructors which is required as part of the course requirements, such as a laboratory, seminar, tutorial and so forth.

5.2 Responsibilities of instructors and presenters

For purposes of teaching, research or evaluation, instructors may record lectures and other learning activities in courses with permission from the presenters.

Notification of intent to record classroom sessions should be included in the class syllabus and, where possible, in the catalogue description of the course. If not so noted, permission from students should be obtained prior to making recordings for teaching or research where a student’s image or voice may be recorded.

If such permission is refused by a student, the instructor may arrange for that student’s image or voice not to be included in the recording.

5.3 Responsibilities of students

Student use of personal recording devices of any type during lectures or other classroom learning activities requires consent of the instructor

A student may record lectures without such permission only if the Disability Services for Students office has approved this accommodation for the student. The instructor will be notified of this accommodation. Such recordings would not be shared, and would be deleted at the conclusion of the class.

5.4 Restrictions on use of classroom recordings

The use of recordings of classroom activities is restricted to use for teaching, learning and research.

Students may not distribute classroom recordings to anyone outside the class without permission of the instructor.

Instructors may use recordings for purposes of research, teaching evaluation, student evaluation and other activities related to teaching, learning and research. With permission of the instructor, presenters may also use recordings for such purposes.

Recordings of classroom sessions may not be used in the formal evaluation of an instructor’s teaching.

5.5 Storage and Archiving

Recordings of courses and other learning activities may be kept by instructors or students for purposes of teaching, learning and research.

Permission for any use of a class recording after the class term is ended remains with the instructor. In a case where the instructor is no longer available to give permission for use of a recording, the department can authorize such use only for purposes of research.

5.6 Special circumstances: clinics, training, art classes

Recordings of learning activities such as clinical or training experiences involving patients and/or professional staff outside of university classrooms will be based on professional standards and on the policies of the clinical institution. In art classes, written permission of models is also required before any video recording by instructors or students takes place.

II.  Assessment of Students  

1.    Grading system

a)  Fairness                                         

Students need to be assured of fairness and transparency in grading. 

Department:

Departments and non-departmentalized colleges shall periodically discuss grading patterns and reach a common understanding about what appropriate grades at all levels of their discipline should be.  It is the responsibility of the Department Head to ensure that grading is fair and transparent.

College:

Each College will set out regulations and guidelines for the College governing methods of evaluation permitted, final or any other examination requirements, including whether a student may obtain credit for a course even if the final examination is not written, and any limits on the relative weighting of final examinations or any other term work.

Each College should establish adequate procedures for setting these guidelines and assessing applications for exceptions.

University:

The University shall periodically review methods of student assessment.

Appeal:

A student who is dissatisfied with the assessment of her or his work or performance in any aspect of course work, including a mid-term or final examination, shall follow the procedures set out in the Council policy on  Student Appeals of Evaluation, Grading and Academic Standing and the Procedures for Student Appeals in Academic Matters.

b)  Weighting in course grades         

Assignments and projects will be assessed and returned to students in a timely manner.

Each assignment and project will be scheduled according to information provided on the course syllabus unless otherwise agreed by the instructor and students. 

The relevant weight of assignments, projects and examinations in determining the final student course grades will be specified on the course syllabus.

Whether any or all of the assignments, projects and examinations are mandatory for obtaining a passing grade in the course will be specified on the course syllabus.

c)  Grade descriptors                         

University of Saskatchewan implementation of the percentage system for reporting final grades was approved by Council in 1986.         

Definitions:

Percentage evaluation for undergraduate and graduate courses is based on the literal descriptors, below, to provide consistency in grading among Colleges. 

The university-wide relationship between literal descriptors and percentage scores for undergraduate courses is as follows:

90-100 Exceptional

A superior performance with consistent strong evidence of

  • a comprehensive, incisive grasp of the subject matter;
  • an ability to make insightful critical evaluation of the material given;
  • an exceptional capacity for original, creative and/or logical thinking;
  • an excellent ability to organize, to analyze, to synthesize, to integrate ideas, and to express thoughts fluently.

80-89 Excellent

An excellent performance with strong evidence of

  • a comprehensive grasp of the subject matter;
  • an ability to make sound critical evaluation of the material given;
  • a very good capacity for original, creative and/or logical thinking;
  • an excellent ability to organize, to analyze, to synthesize, to integrate ideas, and to express thoughts fluently.

70-79 Good

A good performance with evidence of

  • a substantial knowledge of the subject matter;
  • a good understanding of the relevant issues and a good familiarity with the relevant literature and techniques;
  • some capacity for original, creative and/or logical thinking;
  • a good ability to organize, to analyze and to examine the subject material in a critical and constructive manner.

60-69 Satisfactory

A generally satisfactory and intellectually adequate performance with evidence of

  • an acceptable basic grasp of the subject material;
  • a fair understanding of the relevant issues;
  • a general familiarity with the relevant literature and techniques;
  • an ability to develop solutions to moderately difficult problems related to the subject material;
  • a moderate ability to examine the material in a critical and analytical manner.

50-59 Minimal Pass

A barely acceptable performance with evidence of

  • a familiarity with the subject material;
  • some evidence that analytical skills have been developed;
  • some understanding of relevant issues;
  • some familiarity with the relevant literature and techniques;
  • attempts to solve moderately difficult problems related to the subject material and to examine the material in a critical and analytical manner which are only partially successful.

<50 Failure

An unacceptable performance.
 

Department:

Unless approved by the College, all sections of a given course must adhere to the same system of evaluation, either a percentage grading system or a pass-fail evaluation system.

College:

Each College has the responsibility for ensuring, at the beginning of each course, that students are familiar with the evaluation procedures and their application to the literal descriptors.

University:

The Registrar will record and report final grades in all courses on a percentage system unless an exception has been approved by Council. 

All student grades in all courses must be reported according to procedures established by the Registrar. 

Exceptions:

Council will receive and evaluate requests from Colleges desiring exceptions, such as pass/fail, to the percentage system of evaluation.  Required non-credit seminar courses need not be referred to Council for exemption from the percentage unit of the evaluation grade system. Examples are orientation courses, honours or graduate seminar courses, fourth year and graduate thesis courses. Normally, formal examinations are not held in such courses and they may be reported on a P/F (pass/fail) or CR (completed requirements) basis. 

College of Graduate Studies & Research

In May 1996, separate literal descriptors were approved for the grading of courses in the College of Graduate Studies & Research. See the grading system in the  College of Graduate Studies & Research section of the Catalogue for these descriptors.

d)  Academic grading standards       

College:

College regulations govern grading, promotion and graduation standards. Students should refer to the appropriate College sections of the Course and Program Catalogue for specific requirements.

e)  Average calculations                     

Each college is responsible for assigning credit values to courses within its academic jurisdiction.

Calculation:

To distinguish whether these averages have been computed for the work performed by the student in a session, or in a year, or for his/her total program, the terms Sessional Weighted Average, Annual Weighted Average, and Cumulative Weighted Average are frequently used.  

Sessional Weighted Averages are calculated from courses taken in Fall and Winter Terms, Annual Weighted Averages are calculated from all courses taken in a year, and Cumulative Weighted Averages are calculated from all courses taken at the University.

Weighted averages are calculated by multiplying the grade achieved in each class by the number of credit units in the class. The sum of the individual calculations is then divided by the total number of credit units to produce the weighted average. Students should consult with their college for policies on repeating classes and non-numeric grade conversion.

Example:

Course             Grade         Credit Units     Weighted Marks

ENG 100.6       73   6          438.00

DRAM 104.6     67   6          402.00

PSY 110.6        68   6          408.00

CHEM 112.3     73   3          219.00

MUS 140.3       71   3          213.00

HIST 151.3       69   3          207.00

GEOG 120.3     74   3          222.00

TOTAL                   30        2109.00

Weighted Average (2109/30) = 70.30%  

f)  Grading deadlines                         

Final grades should be released to students in a timely way, both for the benefit of the students and to assist University business processes such as Convocation.  

Reports of final grades for all one- and two-term courses and for 100-level, two-term courses examined at mid-year  will be submitted and approved according to procedures established by the Registrar:

  • no later than the end of the final examination period in a given term, for those courses with no final examination in this period, and for mid-year examinations in 100-level, two-term courses offered over the Fall and Winter terms; or
  • within five business days after the date of the final examination, for those courses with final examinations in the final examination period in a given term, as well as final grades resulting from deferred, special deferred, supplemental, and special supplemental final examinations.

If for any reason the above deadlines cannot be met, the instructor should discuss the reason for the delay with their Department Head, or Dean in non-departmentalized Colleges.  The Registrar and the students in the course shall also be notified regarding the anticipated date of submission.

The Registrar shall notify colleges of any final grades not submitted by the grading deadlines.

Department:

Responsibility for submission of the final grade report is shared between the instructor, who submits the final grades, and the Department Head, or Dean in non-departmentalized Colleges, who approves the final grades

If instructors wish to release or post any grades unofficially, they should do so confidentially.   Grades should not be posted with public access.

When final grades are approved by the Department Head, or Dean in non-departmentalized Colleges, they will be submitted electronically according to procedures established by the Registrar.

Once submitted, final grades may be changed by the instructor.   Grade changes are also approved by the Department Head, or Dean in non-departmentalized Colleges.

University:

Only the Registrar may release official final grades. The Registrar will post final grades electronically as they are received. 

The Registrar will communicate with instructors who have not met the above deadlines but who have not notified the Registrar. 

For off campus and distributed learning courses where the final examinations are submitted to the instructor through the mail, the five business day standard will be waived upon consultation with the Registrar.

2.  Examinations                        

Students will be examined on knowledge and skills taught either directly or indirectly (such as through course reading assignments) covered during the course presentations.

Normally, examinations either during the term or during the final examination schedule will be used to further assess the students’ knowledge of course materials.

There should be alignment between course objectives, instruction and the assessment plan for the course, of which examinations are a significant element.  

a)   Methods and types of examinations     

College:

Council, while retaining the final authority over evaluation of student achievement, delegates to Colleges the responsibility of establishing general policies concerning the methods and types of examinations which may be employed by the College and the Departments of that College. 

Department:

Each Department should establish any further instructions and policies for its members.  Each Department will establish, within the regulations and guidelines set out by the College, examination methods and the relative weighting of final examinations. These Department limitations must be approved by the College.

Cross-college and interdisciplinary courses:

In courses provided by a Department of one College for students of another College, the examination regulations of the teaching Department will have precedence unless alternative arrangements have been negotiated between the teaching Department, its own College and the other College.  In the case of an Interdisciplinary program, the appropriate designated authority over the program shall approve any program regulations. 

b)  Mid-term examinations

Scheduling:

Mid-term examinations and other required course activities shall not be scheduled during the final examination period.

Mid-term examinations and other required course activities may be scheduled outside of regularly scheduled course times only with the approval of the College. For graduate classes, the College of Graduate Studies and Research is the approving authority.  Such scheduling needs to be noted in the course syllabus.  Any resultant conflicts with other mid-term examinations or required course activities will be accommodated by the College authorizing such scheduling

Number of examinations:

Students who have more than three mid-term examinations on the same day will be dealt with as special cases by the College.

Reporting of first-year grades:

For the purposes of identifying and advising first-year students experiencing academic difficulty, mid-year  grades in 100-level six credit-unit courses held over the Fall and Winter terms are to be reported to the Registrar. 

c)  Final examinations                        
i)  Modification of requirement to hold a final examination      

Colleges may determine whether students will be permitted to pass a class if they have not completed required coursework or have not written the final examination.

With the approval of the College and the Department, the final examination in an individual course may be replaced by an approved alternative form of evaluation that provides a percentage evaluation consistent with the literal descriptors.  The Registrar must be notified of all examination exemptions.

Any requirement that a student must write the final examination in order to pass the course must be stipulated in the course syllabus.

ii) Final examination period and scheduling of final examinations       

Scheduling:

The Registrar schedules all final examinations, including deferred and supplemental examinations.  The Registrar may delegate authority to schedule final examinations to Colleges where courses do not conform to the University's academic calendar, or in such cases where colleges want to schedule and invigilate their own deferred and supplemental examinations.

The Registrar must post the schedules of final examinations as early in a term as possible.

Change of final examination date: 

Once the Registrar has scheduled final examinations for a term, instructors wanting to change the date and/or time of their final examination must obtain the consent of all students in the course according to procedures established by the Registrar, as well as authorization from the Department Head, or Dean in non-departmentalized Colleges.

Examination period:

For the Fall and Winter terms, at least 24 to 48 hours (1 to 2 days) should be allowed between the last day of lectures and the first day of the final examination period. 

Final examinations in evening courses will normally occur one or two weeks from the last day of lectures in that course except in the event of common examinations between two or more evening classes. 

For Spring and Summer terms, the final examination period shall consist of two to three days immediately following the last day of lectures for a course. 

For courses which do not conform to the usual academic schedule, final examinations will be scheduled by the Registrar in consultation with the College.

Final examinations must be scheduled during the final examination period for a term.

In very unusual circumstances, the Registrar may schedule a final examination outside an examination period on the recommendation of the instructor and Department Head, or Dean in a non-departmentalized College.

Duration:

Writing periods for final examinations usually start at 9 am, 2 pm and 7 pm.  Six credit-unit courses will normally have final examinations of three hours duration. Courses of fewer than six credit units will have final examinations of two to three hours.

Weekends and evenings:

Final examinations may be scheduled during the day or evening on any day except Sundays or statutory holidays. Final examinations for day courses can be scheduled in the evening. 

In the case of common examinations between day courses and evening courses, if possible the final examination will be scheduled in the evening.

24-hour rule:

The Registrar should arrange the schedule so that no student writes more than two final examinations in one 24 hour period.  

For example, if a student has exams scheduled in three consecutive examination periods - such as on Day 1 at 2 pm and 7 pm, and on Day 2 at 9 am - one of the exams will be moved. 

If a student has exams scheduled only on two consecutive examination periods, with at least one period between exam groups - such as on Day 1 at 2 pm and 7 pm, and on Day 2 at 2 pm and 7 pm -- none of the exams will be moved.

Conflicts for common examinations:

Any student examination conflicts created by scheduling common examinations between two or more sections will be accommodated by the instructors of those courses.

Warning about other commitments:

Final examinations may be scheduled at any time during examination periods; until the schedule has been finalized and posted, students and instructors should avoid making travel or other commitments for this period.

Religious conflicts can be accommodated by the Registrar.

Warning about withdrawal:

Sudents cannot withdraw from courses after the withdraw deadline.   

iii)  Conduct and invigilation

Normally, it is expected that an invigilator will be present or will be readily available while students are writing examinations.

The course instructor should invigilate the exam.  If the instructor is not available, it is the responsibility of the instructor to ensure the exam is invigilated by a qualified replacement and that the department head is notified.

30-minute rule:

Students are not allowed to leave the examination room until 30 minutes after the start of the examination. The instructor can also deny entrance to a student if he or she arrives later than 30 minutes after the start of the examination. 

A student denied admission to the examination under this regulation may apply to his or her College for a deferred final examination; such application will be subject to consideration under the usual criteria.

Identification:

Students are required to have suitable identification (student I.D. card or other picture I.D.) available during examinations.  Invigilators may request that students produce such identification during examinations. If a student claims not to have any proof of identity, the student can be required to present suitable I.D. to the invigilator at some mutually agreeable time and place. The student shall be informed that failure to appear at the agreed upon time and place will constitute an irregularity that will be reported to the invigilator's Dean.

No unauthorized assistance:

Students shall not bring into the examination room any books, papers, calculators or any other electronic devices (such as laptops or netbooks, tablets, cell phones, etc.), or other materials except as indicated on the examination paper or with the permission of the invigilator.

Students shall hold no communication of any kind with anyone other than the invigilator while the examination is in progress.

Leaving:

Students who need to leave the examination room for any reason require the permission of the invigilator.

Before leaving the examination room, students are required to sign a tally sheet indicating their attendance at the examination and submission of examination materials. 

Emergency evacuation:

If the examination is interrupted by fire alarm, power outage, or similar emergency requiring evacuation, the invigilator should lead the students out of the examination room in an orderly fashion.  The invigilator should, to the extent that this is possible, advise the students not to communicate with each other about the examination and supervise the students until the resumption of the examination.  If the situation requires cancellation of the examination, it will be rescheduled by the Registrar at the earliest practical date and time.

Additional responsibilities:

Council delegates to each College and Department the responsibility and authority for setting additional responsibilities of invigilators. 

iv)  Accessibility of examination papers     

All marked final examination papers, together with the tally sheets and the final examination questions, shall be retained in the Department, or College in non-departmentalized Colleges, for a period of at least one year following the examination period in which the final examination was held.

For details regarding accessibility of examination papers please refer to the policy on Student Appeals of Evaluation, Grading and Academic Standing. The policy is available from the Office of the University Secretary, the College Dean's office and online at  Student Appeals of Evaluation, Grading and Academic Standing and the Procedures for Student Appeals in Academic Matters. 

3.  Student assessment issues and special circumstances       

a) Final grade alternatives and comments

Definition:

The following grading alternatives also exist:

  • audit (AU)
  • completed requirements (CR)
  • failure (F)
  • not applicable (NA)
  • pass (P)
  • withdrawal (W)
  • withdrawal from audit (WAU)

Final grades recorded as percentage units may be accompanied by the following additional grade comments as warranted:

  • aegrotat standing (AEG)
  • incomplete failure (INF)
  • deferred final examination granted (DEFG)
  • special deferred final examination granted (SPECDEFG)
  • supplemental final examination granted (SUPPG)
  • supplemental final examination written (SUPP)
  • special supplemental final examination granted (SPECSPG)
  • special supplemental final examination written (SPECSUP)
b)  Withdrawal                                    

If a student withdraws from the class after the add-drop deadline but before the withdraw deadline, the course remains on their transcript and is shown as a withdrawal.   

Withdrawal is a grading alternative which appears permanently on a student's transcript as a W.  

The W has no academic standing and does not impact the calculation of a student's Cumulative Weighted Average.  If a student withdraws from a class before the add-drop deadline for a term, the listing of the course is deleted from their transcript. 

c)  Retroactive withdrawal                 

A “retroactive withdrawal” from a course can be made when a student has failed courses due to catastrophic personal circumstances, or has made a mistake in registration. 

A “retroactive withdrawal” from a course can be approved by the Registrar, provided the student has applied for this change to the College in which he or she is registered, and the College supports this appeal.

Changing a failing mark to a Withdrawal removes these failures from the student’s average.

University policy has been that such a change in an academic record can be justified only on personal grounds (such as serious illness or other circumstances which prevented successful completion of the course) rather than academic grounds.  Other procedures already exist for academic appeals, as described in the Council policy on  Student Appeals of Evaluation, Grading and Academic Standing and the Procedures for Student Appeals in Academic Matters

d)  Incomplete course work (assignments and/or examinations)  and incomplete failure (INF)

When a student has not completed the required course work, which includes any assignment or examination including the final examination, by the time of submission of the final grades, they may be granted an extension to permit completion of an assignment, or granted a deferred examination in the case of absence from a final examination. 

Extensions past the final examination date for the completion of assignments must be approved by the Department Head, or Dean in non-departmentalized Colleges, and may exceed thirty days only in unusual circumstances.  The student must apply to the instructor for such an extension and furnish satisfactory reasons for the deficiency.  Deferred final examinations are granted as per College policy.

In the interim, the instructor will submit a computed percentile grade for the class which factors in the incomplete coursework as a zero, along with a grade comment of INF (Incomplete Failure) if a failing grade.  

Colleges may determine whether students will be permitted to pass a class if they have not completed required coursework or have not written the final examination.

In the case where the student has a passing percentile grade but the instructor has indicated in the course outline that failure to complete the required coursework will result in failure in the course, a final grade of 49% will be submitted along with a grade comment of INF (Incomplete Failure).

If an extension is granted and the required assignment is submitted within the allotted time, or if a deferred examination is granted and written in the case of absence from the final examination, the instructor will submit a revised assigned final percentage grade.  The grade change will replace the previous grade and any grade comment of INF (Incomplete Failure) will be removed. 

A student can pass a course on the basis of work completed in the course provided that any incomplete course work has not been deemed mandatory by the instructor in the course outline and/or by College regulations for achieving a passing grade. 

College of Graduate Studies and Research

The College of Graduate Studies and Research, which has higher passing grade thresholds for its programs than do undergraduate courses, will designate a final failing grade of 59 % to be assigned along with a grade comment of INF (Incomplete Failure) if the student could otherwise pass the course.

e)  Deferred final examinations          

A deferred or special deferred final examination may be granted to a student.

Examination Period

The deferred examination periods are as follows:

  • Fall term courses, the four business days of the February midterm break;
  • Fall and Winter two-term courses and Winter term courses, the five business days following the second Thursday in June;
  • Spring and Summer term courses, the first or second Saturday following the start of classes in September.

The Registrar may delegate authority to schedule final examinations to Colleges where courses do not conform to the University's academic calendar, or in such cases where Colleges want to schedule and invigilate their own deferred and supplemental examinations.

College:

The College must consider all requests for deferred examinations and notify the student, the instructor, and the Registrar of its decision within ten business days of the close of the final examination period, and within ten business days of receipt of the application for special deferred examinations.

A student who has sat for and handed in a final examination for marking and signed the tally sheet will not be granted a deferred examination.

Baring exceptional circumstances, deferred examinations may be granted provided the following conditions are met:

  • A student who is absent from a final examination for valid reasons such as medical or compassionate reasons may apply to his or her College for a deferred examination   Students in Open Studies apply to Open Studies.
  • A student who becomes ill during a final examination or who cannot complete the final examination for other valid reason must notify the invigilator immediately of his or her inability to finish.  The student may then apply for a deferred examination. 
  • A special deferred examination may be granted to a student who, for valid reasons such as medical or compassionate reasons is unable to write during the deferred examination period.  An additional fee is charged for special deferred examinations; otherwise, they are subject to the same regulations as deferred examinations.
  • A student must submit their application for a regular or special deferred examination, along with satisfactory supporting documentary evidence, to his or her College within three business days of the missed or interrupted final examination.

Instructors must provide deferred examinations to the Registrar at least five business days prior to the start of the deferred examination period.

Once the examination is written, the instructor will assign a revised final percentage grade.  The grade comment of DEFG (Deferred Final Examination Granted) or SPECDEFG (Special Deferred Final Examination Granted) will be removed from a student’s official record.  If the examination is not written, the original grade/grade comment submitted by the instructor will stand.

A deferred or special deferred examination shall be accorded the same weight as the regular final examination in the computation of the student's final grade.

Exceptions:

With the approval of the Department Head and the consent of the student, the instructor of a course is allowed some flexibility about the nature of the examination to accommodate the particular circumstances which created the need for the deferred examination. The Registrar must be notified of any departures from the regular form of examination.
The Registrar may arrange for deferred and special deferred examinations to be written at centres other than Saskatoon.

Appeal:

In the case of a disputed final grade, a student is entitled to an Informal Consultation on a deferred or special deferred examination. A Formal Reassessment (re-read) will be granted upon receipt of the appropriate application.  For more information about Informal Consultation  or Formal Reassessments including deadlines, please see the Council policy on  Student Appeals of Evaluation, Grading and Academic Standing and the Procedures for Student Appeals in Academic Matters. 

f)   Supplemental final examinations          

A student who is assigned a failing grade in a course as a penalty for an academic offence is not eligible to be granted a supplemental examination in that course.

Supplemental final examinations are a limited substitute for the final examination.

Examination period

The supplemental examination periods coincide with the deferred examination periods.  Supplemental examinations resulting from deferred examinations will be specially accommodated.  The Registrar may delegate authority to schedule final examinations to Colleges where courses do not conform to the University's academic calendar, or in such cases where Colleges want to schedule and invigilate their own deferred and supplemental examinations.

College:

Supplemental final examinations may be granted only according to the following conditions: 

  • In consultation with the Department concerned, a College may grant a supplemental or special supplemental examination to a student registered in the College. Within the limits defined in this section, the College shall determine the grounds for granting supplemental and special supplemental examinations and the criteria for eligibility. This applies to all students regardless of year.  Students in Open Studies are not eligible for supplemental examinations.
  • Factors to be taken into consideration for granting a supplemental or special supplemental examination include but are not limited to: the subsequent availability of the course or an appropriate substitute; the grades obtained by the student in term work; the weighting of the final examination in determining the final grade; the course schedule of the student in the subsequent session.
  • Supplemental final examinations may be granted under regulations established at the College level except that any student who is otherwise eligible to graduate and who fails one course in his or her graduating year shall be granted a supplemental examination, provided that a final examination was held in that course. A student who fails more than one course in the graduating year may be considered for supplemental examinations according to the regulations established by his or her College.
  • The student must make formal application for a supplemental examination to his or her College by the stated deadline of the College.
  • A special supplemental examination may be granted to a student who, for medical, compassionate or other valid reason, is unable to write during the supplemental examination period.  An additional fee is charged for special supplemental examinations; otherwise, they are subject to the same regulations as supplemental examinations.

Once the examination is written, the instructor will assign a revised final percentage grade. The grade comment of SUPPG (Supplemental Final Examination Granted) or SPECSPG (Special Supplemental Final Examination Granted) will be replaced with a grade comment of SUPP (Supplemental Final Examination Written) or SPECSUP (Special Supplemental Final Examination Written) on a student’s official record.  If the supplemental examination is not written, the original grade submitted by the instructor will stand.

Supplemental examinations shall be accorded the same weight as the original final examination in the computation of the student's final grade. 

However, College regulations may affect how grades based on supplemental examinations are calculated.

Instructors must provide supplemental examinations to the Registrar at least five business days prior to the start of the supplemental examination period.

Exceptions:

The Registrar may arrange for supplemental and special supplemental examinations to be written at centres other than Saskatoon.

Appeal:

A student is entitled to a Informal Consultation on a supplemental or special supplemental examination. A Formal Reassessment (re-read) will be granted upon receipt of the appropriate application.  For more information about Informal Consultations and Formal Reassessments including deadlines, please see Council policy on  Student Appeals of Evaluation, Grading and Academic Standing and the Procedures for Student Appeals in Academic Matters.

g)  Aegrotat standing                       

In exceptional circumstances, a student may be offered aegrotat standing (AEG) in lieu of writing the deferred or special deferred final examination    

Aegrotat standing can be considered provided the student has obtained a grade of at least 65 percent in term work in the course(s) in question (where such evaluation is possible); or, if there is no means of evaluating term work, the student's overall academic performance has otherwise been satisfactory; the instructor of the course, along with the Department Head, or Dean in a non-departmentalized College, recommends offering aegrotat standing, and the student's College approves the award.

h)  Examinations with Disability Services for Students (DSS)      

[The U of S policy on Academic Accommodation and Access for Students with Disabilities is posted here]  

Students registered with DSS may request alternative arrangements for mid-term and final examinations.

Students must arrange such special accommodations through DSS by the stated deadlines. 

Instructors shall provide the examinations for students who are being specially accommodated by the deadlines established by DSS.

4.  Procedures for Grade Disputes        

a)  Grade dispute between instructor and department head, or dean in non-departmentalized colleges        

In the absence of any other approved mechanism to resolve grade disputes between an instructor and Department Head, or Dean in a non-departmentalized College, the following steps, to be completed in a maximum of ten business days, shall be followed:

Step 1. Members of each Department or non-departmentalized College shall agree ahead of time on a conciliation mechanism that the Department will follow in the event of a grade dispute.

Step 2. If five business days following the last day of examinations pass and the Department Head, or Dean, in a non-departmentalized College, has not approved the grade report for a class, the Department or non-departmentalized College shall immediately commence the conciliation procedure referred to in Step 1. The Department or non-departmentalized College has five business days to complete this conciliation process.

Step 3. If, after five business days the conciliation procedure does not resolve the dispute, the matter shall be immediately referred to the Dean, or the Provost and Vice President (Academic) in the case of non-departmentalized Colleges, who will see that an arbitration committee is set up within two business days. The committee shall consist of three members: one member nominated by the instructor, one member nominated by the Department Head, and a chairperson. In the event that one of the parties does not nominate a member, the Dean or Provost and Vice-President (Academic) shall do so. The chairperson shall be appointed by the mutual agreement of the nominees for the instructor and the Department Head or, if the two nominees cannot agree, by the Dean. In non-departmentalized Colleges, the chair will be appointed by the Provost and Vice-President (Academic) if the Dean and the instructor cannot agree. 

Step 4. Within two business days of the failure of the conciliation process, the Department Head, or Dean in a non-departmentalized College, must list in writing what material was considered in conciliation. A copy of this list shall be sent to the instructor who must immediately report in writing to the Dean, or Provost and Vice President (Academic) for non-departmentalized Colleges, as to the accuracy of the list. Within the same two business days, the Department Head, or Dean in non-departmentalized Colleges, and the instructor shall forward written submissions with supporting documents to the Dean, or Provost and Vice President (Academic) in non-departmentalized Colleges.

Step 5. These submissions and all material considered in the conciliation (including the list drawn up by the Department Head, or Dean in a non-departmentalized College), and the response of the instructor are to be forwarded to the arbitration committee 

Step 6. The arbitration committee shall follow a strict set of deadlines and shall consider only the submissions and supporting documents as submitted by the Department Head, or Dean in a non-departmentalized College, and instructor. To the extent possible, the arbitration committee will use the same relative weighting of final examination and term work as was used by the instructor in arriving at the final grades. 

Step 7. The arbitration committee shall be given a maximum of three business days to complete its deliberations and reach a final decision about the disputed marks. The committee shall immediately submit a written report to the Registrar, with copies to the Dean, Department Head and instructor. 

Step 8. If after three business days, the arbitration committee has not submitted a final decision about the disputed marks, the Dean or Provost and Vice-President (Academic) will assign provisional pass/fail grades until the arbitrated grades have been submitted. Final grades must be available for students by graduation deadlines. This applies whether or not the student is graduating. An unofficial pass grade cannot be changed to a failing grade, regardless of the result of the arbitration. Likewise, a student will not lose any scholarship, admission status or the like even if the arbitrated mark lowers the student's grade to the point where the student would otherwise have been ineligible. 

Step 9. In the event that a provisional pass/fail grade is assigned, the Registrar will attach an explanatory note to any transcripts of the affected students explaining that an unresolved grade dispute has arisen between the instructor and the Department Head or Dean and that through no fault of the student, a mark is not currently available. Once the arbitration is completed, the Registrar shall issue, free of charge, corrected transcripts to replace any previously ordered by the affected students.

b)  Grade dispute between instructor and student

Students who are dissatisfied with the assessment of their work or performance in any aspect of course work, including a midterm or final examination should consult the Council policy titled Student Appeals or Evaluation, Grading and Academic Standing. This policy describes the process to be followed in appealing the assessment.  Appeals based on academic judgment follow a step-by-step process including consultation with the instructor and re-reading of written work or re-assessment of non-written work. The policy is available from the Office of the University Secretary, the College Dean's office and online at Student Appeals of Evaluation, Grading and Academic Standing and the Procedures for Student Appeals in Academic Matters.

 

Responsibilities

Under the Bylaws of University Council (Section 3, VIII, 2), all matters respecting the subjects, time and mode of the examinations and respecting the degrees and distinctions to be conferred by the University shall be provided for by Council regulations.

Academic course regulations at all levels shall be publicly accessible to all members of the University community. If a college or department has additional regulations, these must be made available to students. There should also be provisions at each level of authority for periodic review and amendment of these regulations.

University:
University regulations will prevail in the absence of other College or Departmental regulations. In the case of a discrepancy between University regulations and College or Departmental regulations, University regulations will take precedence. Any College requesting an exception, change or addition to these Regulations is to submit a proposal to the Academic Programs Committee for approval.

Colleges and Departments:
Council, while retaining the final authority over assessment of student learning, delegates to Colleges the responsibility of establishing general policies concerning the methods and types of assessment which may be employed by the Departments of that College, and each Department should establish any further instructions and policies for its members as necessary.

Instructors and Departments:
It is the responsibility of the instructor and Department Head to report final grades to the Registrar in accordance with the regulations outlined here. Instructors will use prescribed grade descriptors or grade comments if required.

The final grade report, prepared by the instructor, must be approved by the Department Head, or Dean in non-departmentalized Colleges.

Related Documents

There are no other documents associated with this policy.

Contact Information

Contact Person: University Registrar and Director of Student Services
Phone: 306-966-6723