Forms, Policies and Guidelines

Midterm and Final Exam Policy

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Evening midterm-exam policy

Fall and Spring term final-exam policy

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

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.

Guidelines and Procedures

FAQs

Independent Study

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What is an independent study?

Classes categorized as independent study are one-on-one rather than group instruction. Generally speaking, these are mentored learning experiences wherein students become more self-directed learners while working closely with faculty mentors or other qualified instructors who guide their research, provide feedback, and model scholarly and professional behavior.

How are independent-study classes indicated?

Classes scheduled as independent study will have the component type IND recorded in the Student Information System and displayed in Course Search & Enroll and other systems.

Independent-study course titles vary and include “Directed Study,” “Independent Study,” “Independent Reading,” “Research,” “Senior Thesis,” “Thesis,” and other typically similar titles. Catalog numbers for independent study vary as well, but can include 699 and other x98 and x99 numbers; 990 and other 99x numbers; and more. The component type IND is the one consistent indicator that a class is independent study.

Does an independent study have regular class meetings?

By definition, all independent study classes include regular instructional contact between the instructor and the student. However, because instruction is one-on-one, independent-study classes do not have recurring day/time meeting patterns or room assignments scheduled in the Student Information System or displayed in Course Search & Enroll.

What is the instruction mode of an independent study?

UW-Madison schedules non-group instruction sections, including independent-study and field-study classes, with the instruction mode P (Classroom Instruction). Because of the varied nature of independent study instruction, that might mean physically in-person within a laboratory or library at UW-Madison, within the fields and forests of Wisconsin, or observatories on other continents. The student and instructor may physically or remotely be in regular contact. The instructor and enrolled students are expected to agree on how, where, and when they will maintain regular communication throughout the semester.

How are enrollments handled when an instructor is leading multiple students in independent study for the same course?

For each course (e.g., PSYCH 990), each faculty member or other qualified instructor should be listed on one and only one section. If multiple students will conduct independent study with the same instructor, the students enroll in the same class section (e.g., PSYCH 990 section 065), even though they will be engaged in one-on-one instruction.

Where can I learn more about independent study as a type of course offering?

Learn more about independent study and links with further detail.

Midterm and Final Exam Policy

Faculty/Instructor FAQs

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I am teaching a course where the lecture is 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 online, the final exam may not be administered in person.

I am eligible to administer an in-person final exam but have opted to give the final 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 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 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), 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 a final exam.

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 or paper. 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.

My class has a take-home final exam or a final project or paper that will be due during finals week. Can I assign a deadline of my choice?

No. Take-home final exams should not be due any earlier than the end of your scheduled final exam block. The same applies to final projects or papers that will be due during finals week. If you do not have an exam date officially scheduled in the Student Information System (SIS), please contact the curricular representative for your department who can submit a request on your behalf to the Registrar’s Office.

Please notify your departmental curricular representative if you are using your assigned final exam date/time solely as a due date. 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, 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 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 campus policy, 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, 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 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 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.

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 creating accessible online course materials.

What is the deadline for submission of final grades?

Per faculty policy, 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. See the Final and Midterm Grading page for additional details and FAQs, including how eligible instructors may request an extension of the deadline to submit grades.

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

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