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Exams, Quizzes & Papers

Term Papers

The deadline for term papers in a course with a final examination is two weeks before the beginning of the final examination period. Under no conditions should papers in such courses be accepted during the examination period. This regulation is intended to relieve the instructor of the necessity of reading papers while preparing course grades. Undue leniency and other abuses of this regulation place a severe burden on the student as well as the instructor. If necessary, a student may request an extension of time for incomplete course work, though such extensions are granted only for compelling reasons. In a course without a final examination, the deadline for term papers is the last day on which the class meets.


Instructors should not give quizzes within ten days of final examinations or on major religious holidays. Instructors are expected to grade and return all quizzes to students in a timely fashion.

Mid-Term Examinations

Although students who observe religious holidays while classes are in session are responsible for the work missed and all subsequent deadlines, instructors should avoid scheduling examinations on major religious holidays. Ordinarily, an instructor should arrange work in a course so that a test will yield a tentative grade for every student not later than the sixth or seventh week of a term. Instructors normally give mid-term examinations, but papers or other written assignments may serve this purpose at the discretion of the instructor. Instructors should return all written work to the students promptly with criticism and suggestions. The Dean of Studies requests reports on all students whose work is unsatisfactory after the mid-term. It is important that instructors submit these reports so that a student with multiple academic problems may receive the timely remedial action she needs

Make-Up Examinations During the Term

Instructors are not required to give make-up examinations to students absent from previously announced tests during the term. An instructor who is willing to give a make-up test may require acceptable evidence of illness or other extenuating circumstances.

Final Examinations

All lecture courses are required to give in-class final examinations at the end of the semester, as scheduled by the Registrar. Instructors must strictly observe the examination schedule issued by the Office of the Registrar and give examinations only during the hours scheduled for them. A take-home examination may not be substituted for a scheduled three-hour final examination unless prior permission is granted by the Committee on Instruction. Class meetings may not be extended into the required reading period, as designated by the College Calendar.

The final examination in any course for which a final examination is scheduled shall be no less than two hours in duration and no more than three hours.

All students begin work on the examinations at the same time; a student who is late may not have extra time. Students should sit in alternate seats wherever possible.

Proctoring of Final Examinations

For regularly scheduled examinations, the instructors or their delegates (fellow instructors, laboratory or teaching assistants, but not undergraduate students) will take the roll at the beginning of the examination and remain in the assigned room for the duration of the examination.

Blue Books

Instructors may obtain examination blue books for final examinations in their courses either from Purchasing or the Faculty Department/Program Administrators and Assistants. Students should be asked to use both sides of the page to minimize the number of books used. The instructor should thoroughly investigate a student's claim that a blue book has been lost; unless the student is clearly not at fault, the instructor must give the examination the grade F.

Students Leaving Scheduled Examination Early

Students who wish to leave the examination room before the end of the scheduled period should submit their blue books to the instructor. The time of departure should be noted on the blue book. The responsibility for submitting the examination books lies with the student.

Student Illness during the Final Examinations

If a student becomes ill during the course of the final examination, the student must give the examination book directly to the instructor.  The student then should be sent to the Health Services directly from the examination room. If an ill student remains in the examination for more than one hour in a three-hour examination, or more than forty minutes in a two-hour examination, she or he must be graded on the work completed; i.e., if she answered only a 30-point question and got a 27 on it, and if the exam is worth 100 points, she would received a grade based on 27/100 not 27/30.  If less time has expired, the grade should be recorded DEF (deferred).  Deferred examinations will be given at the beginning of the following semester for these students and for students absent from the examination (graded X) who receive approval for a deferred examination because of an illness or other emergency.

Deferred Final Examinations

Deferred examinations, scheduled and administered by the Office of the Registrar at the beginning of each semester, are open only to those students who were absent from the regular final examinations because of illness or emergency and who had received authorization for a deferred examination from the course instructor and the Dean of Studies Office.  The Office of the Registrar will verify whether the student has a medical or other clearance. The Office of the Registrar will request copies of deferred examinations from instructors for courses in which a request for a deferred examination has been approved.

Unexcused Absences from Final Examinations

A student who is absent from a final examination without excuse shall receive zero for the examination. The course grade will include that zero, averaged in with the rest of the work for the course. The same regulation applies to students who are absent from deferred final examinations without excuses.

Conflicts of Scheduled Final Examinations

A student with a conflict of scheduled examinations may take an examination scheduled at an alternative time. The Office of the Registrar will verify the conflict and request that the student ask one of the instructors concerned to set an alternative time.  Students who have four examinations within 48 hours or three examinations in a 24-hour period may also ask for a change of schedule. The Office of the Registrar will verify the hardship on a form the students then take to the instructor.

Courses Exempt from Final Examinations

Courses that emphasize skills and performance, courses that meet as seminars or colloquia, and programs of independent work are exempt from the final-examination requirement. Requests for exemption for any other courses must have the approval of the Committee on Instruction before the course is offered in any given semester.

Take-Home Final Examinations 

All lecture courses are required to give in-class final examinations at the end of the semester, as scheduled by the Registrar. Requests for exceptions must be submitted, in advance, to the Committee on Instruction. Instructors who assign take-home examinations should consider very carefully the heavier burden that such an exercise places on students. The take-home examination should remain an exceptional alternative, bound by the following strict and explicit guidelines, established by the COI:

  • Its format must be announced at the beginning of the semester along with other course requirements;
  • Instructors who plan to administer a take-home examination must request permission of the COI within the first two weeks of the semester;
  • A take-home examination must be assigned two weeks before it is due, have a limit of no more than 2,000 words, and be due on the day a scheduled final examination would have been given;
  • Because a take-home examination should, like any final examination, be an integrating exercise, it must not require research beyond the required reading for the course;
  • The preparation and writing time that the take-home examination involves should not exceed the time the student might be expected to spend in studying for and taking a regularly scheduled final examination;
  • Specific instructions (preferably in writing) should be given to all students in the class about the nature of collaboration or discussion about the examination that may or may not be permissible;
  • The take-home examination must not be the only written assignment in the course.

The instructor must specify her or his understanding of these guidelines in the request to the Committee on Instruction.