Midterm and Final Exam Policy

Upcoming Final Exam Periods

Evening midterm-exam policy

Two evening examination periods have been established for daytime classes that require evening midterm examinations. The first 90-minute period is from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm to accommodate examinations of 90 minutes. Examinations can begin any time before or during this period as long as they end no later than 7:00 pm. The second period begins at 7:15 pm and will accommodate longer exams. Exceptions to this general policy may be authorized by the academic vice chancellor.

Instructors of daytime courses who plan to give evening midterm examinations must make a request to footnote that information on the course so students will be aware of potential conflicts with evening courses or other commitments. Whenever possible the times and/or dates of evening examinations should also be footnoted.

Instructors who schedule evening examinations should make every possible effort to accommodate students with unavoidable conflicts. It is the instructor’s responsibility to assure that all students with conflicts between daytime courses with evening exams and evening courses are treated fairly and without penalty. If a scheduling conflict exists between the evening exam of a daytime course and a regularly scheduled evening course, then the evening course takes precedence over the exam.

Fall and Spring term final-exam policy

Set by faculty legislation: II-105 Summary period for academic semester

The academic semester consists of  a regularly scheduled instructional period, and no more than a 7-day summary period. The first day of the summary period is for individual study and review, and no classes or exams are to be scheduled then. The other days are prescheduled to include one two-hour summary block for each course of two or more credits. This two-hour block shall be used for an examination or for other instructional activities as deemed appropriate by the instructor and as approved by the instructional unit offering the course. Final examinations or other summary period activities cannot be scheduled during the two weeks preceding the summary period. Take-home final examinations are due at the scheduled two-hour block.

The summary period block schedule must be published and must be adhered to by all faculty in accordance with faculty legislation requirements. The Office of the Registrar is authorized to prepare the summary period block schedule without submitting it to the faculty for approval, except that any college or school may prepare its own summary block schedule.

The time of a two-hour block for a class and/or the due date for the take-home examination may be changed only with the prior approval of the dean. Where a student has more than two summary blocks scheduled within a period of 24 hours, the instructor may, within guidelines adopted by the college or school faculty, reschedule a final exam to avoid hardship. Rescheduled summary blocks shall be of the same general nature and quality as the activities of the regular two-hour summary block.

Special hours within the prescribed summary period shall be assigned by the Office of the Registrar, in consultation with the dean, for combined summary periods in multiple-section courses that have no common meeting hour.

Undergraduate seminar courses, independent study, and directed study courses are exempted from the above rules. Also, the rules apply only to courses numbered 699 or below.

All course grades must be completed by each instructor and submitted to the Office of the Registrar three days (72 hours) after the last final exam day, regardless of whether or not a two-hour summary block exam was held.

Summer session final exams

Summer mid-session exams are typically held during the scheduled class period. Final exams are held at the last class meeting unless otherwise announced by the instructor.

Final-exam locations on the web

Fall and Spring locations for final exams given in General Assignment Classrooms will be assigned approximately four weeks before the start of final exams. Once assigned, these room assignments can be viewed by students in the My Courses widget in MyUW and by faculty and instructors in Faculty Center. Staff with appropriate access can also run reports using Data Center in SIS. If your course is not listed, contact the instructor or department giving the exam to determine the location.

Faculty/Instructor FAQs – for Spring 2021

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Are evening midterm exams (or any times outside of the regular in-person meeting) for in-person daytime classes allowed in Spring 2021?

In a typical semester, departments and faculty/instructors have the option to schedule in-person midterm exams outside regular in-person class meeting times. (Advance notice to students is expected via a class note visible at enroll.wisc.edu and inclusion in the course syllabus.) Due to space constraints, more classes meeting in the evenings, and other considerations, no scheduling of in-person midterms outside of regular class meeting times will be permitted this spring (except for documented McBurney accommodations). Instructors need to schedule midterm evaluation of students during regularly scheduled class meeting times or in alternative formats.

Will final exams be administered in person or remotely for the Spring 2021 semester?

Per the guidance endorsed by the University Curriculum Committee, classes taught entirely remotely or online must administer final exams remotely/online, if a final is given. Only some classes taught in person or hybrid are eligible to administer finals in person. Specifically, classes with a final-exam code assigned in SIS and where the class instruction mode is P (Classroom Instruction) or WC (Online, Some Classroom) may administer their final exam in person if the instructor chooses; these final exams may be administered remotely/online if the instructor prefers.

I am teaching a course where the lecture is remote/online but the discussion and/or lab sections are in person. Can I administer my final exam in person?

No. Lectures and discussions/labs often have a one-to-many relationship, where a single lecture is associated with multiple discussion and/or lab sections. For this and other reasons, final exams are scheduled based on the lecture. As a result, the modality of final exams in these cases is limited by the modality of the lecture. If the lecture is remote/online, the final exam may not be administered in person.

I am eligible to administer an in-person final exam (see FAQs above) but have opted to give the final remotely/online. Do I need to do anything?

Please notify your departmental curricular representative if you are teaching an in-person or hybrid class but will be administering your scheduled final exam remotely/online. The curricular representative can inform the Registrar’s Office that your final exam does not need a classroom assignment to help ensure that classrooms are available for in-person final exams.

My class does not have a final exam scheduled and I now plan to administer a final exam. What should I do?

Per faculty policy (see above), changes to the final exam schedule after students are enrolled require review and approval of the school/college dean’s office. The Registrar’s Office facilitates obtaining these approvals, working with dean’s offices.

Contact the curricular representative for your department who can submit a request on your behalf to the Registrar’s Office which starts the dean’s review process to schedule or change a final exam.

After approval is obtained, communicate the change to your students, including updating your syllabus. You must also accommodate alternate exam times for students that inform you of an exam conflict. Final-exam assignments are designed to minimize student exam conflicts, but changes in the schedule increase the likelihood of conflicts.

My class has a final exam scheduled and I would like to request a new final-exam date/time. What should I do?

Per faculty policy (see above), changes to the final-exam schedule after students are enrolled require review and approval of the school/college dean’s office. The Registrar’s Office facilitates obtaining these approvals.

Contact the curricular representative for your department who can submit a request on your behalf to the Registrar’s Office which starts the dean’s review process to schedule or change a final exam.

After approval is obtained, communicate the change to your students, including updating your syllabus. You must also accommodate alternate exam times for students that inform you of an exam conflict. Final exam assignments are designed to minimize student exam conflicts, but changes in the schedule increase the likelihood of conflicts.

I am teaching an asynchronous class but wish to schedule a synchronous final exam. What should I do?

Per guidance issued in October, asynchronous course sections will generally have asynchronous exams that can be completed by students within a certain timeframe. An asynchronous course section may have a synchronous final exam only if accommodations or flexibilities are made for students unable to attend synchronous exam times.

Per faculty policy (see above), changes to the final-exam schedule after students are enrolled require review and approval of the school/college dean’s office. The Registrar’s Office facilitates obtaining these approvals.

If your asynchronous class does not have a final-exam scheduled and you plan to administer one, contact the curricular representative for your department who can submit a request on your behalf to the Registrar’s Office, which starts the dean’s review process to schedule or change a final exam.

After approval is obtained, communicate the change to your students, including updating your syllabus. You must also accommodate alternate exam times for students that inform you of an exam conflict. Final exam assignments are designed to minimize student exam conflicts, but changes in the schedule increase the likelihood of conflicts.

My class has a final exam scheduled and I plan to administer the exam asynchronously over an extended period of time (e.g., 48 hours). What should I do?

You may provide an extended timeframe to students for completing an asynchronous exam. Please ensure that your original exam date/time falls within the larger time frame — the asynchronous exam should not be due any earlier than the end of your scheduled final-exam block. Communicate the details to your students, including updating your syllabus. If you do not have an exam date officially scheduled in the Student Information System (SIS), or if you wish to change the date/time, please request the change first before notifying students; contact the curricular representative for your department who can submit a request on your behalf to the Registrar’s Office, which starts the dean’s review process to schedule or change a final exam.

I have a final exam scheduled, and I plan to administer it synchronously to all students in my class. A student who does not have a McBurney Faculty Notification Letter is requesting an alternate exam time (e.g., because they have three or more exams in a 24-hour period, because they are in a distant time zone, etc.). What should I do?

Per faculty policy, you may offer an alternate exam time for students with three or more final exams in 24 hours, provided that you follow school/college guidelines and the exam is “of the same general nature and quality.” Similarly, you may exercise your judgment and offer alternate exam dates/times to other students. However, except for McBurney accommodations (see below FAQ) and accommodating exam conflicts resulting from changes in the exam schedule after students are enrolled, you are not mandated to provide alternate exams and can require students to complete the exam at the officially scheduled date/time. Decisions about requiring synchronous completion or offering an alternate exam date/time should balance concerns about fairness and academic integrity with flexibilities that may support student success under the current unique and challenging circumstances.

I plan to administer a final exam and I have a student who has an accommodation plan through the McBurney Disability Resource Center. What should I do?

Student accommodations should be reviewed and may need to be adapted or adjusted for an online environment, and will depend on your course content and assessments. Please be in touch with students to discuss updated accommodation plans for your course. For questions, contact a student’s access consultant at the McBurney Disability Resource Center. Learn more about accessibility and accommodations during remote instruction.

My class has a final exam scheduled and I no longer plan to administer a final nor will I use that date/time as the due date for a final project. What should I do?

If you will no longer be using an assigned final exam date/time, communicate the change to your students, including updating your syllabus. You may also notify the curricular representative for your department, who can relay the message to the Registrar’s Office.

What is the deadline for submission of Spring 2021 final grades?

Grades must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar by 11:59 PM on May 10, 2021. See the FAQs on submitting grades for additional details, including how eligible instructors may request an extension of the deadline to submit grades.

I still have questions about Spring 2021 final exams. What should I do?

Please contact brittany.elandt@wisc.edu with additional questions.