Cumulative final examinations are valuable for University credit courses because they can fulfill two important academic objectives; student integration of instructional material and end-of-semester evaluation of student achievement. However, valid means other than the final examination exist for accomplishing these objectives (e.g., term paper, final project report, take-home examinations, etc.). Course instructors should determine which of these methods is most appropriate and effective in each undergraduate (including 400-level) credit course taught. Regardless of which type of activity is chosen, care must be taken not to interfere unduly with the full complement of scheduled instruction of the student.
To provide for student integration of instructional material, end-of-semester evaluation of student performance, and instruction extending to the end of the scheduled period, course instructors shall:
- Determine a method of providing for meaningful integration of course topics and evaluation of student performance.
Offer a full schedule of instruction (e.g., fifteen weeks in a fifteen-week semester).
Schedule no examinations during the last week of classes. (Quizzes and narrowly limited tests in support of classroom instruction worth no more than ten percent of the semester grade may be given during the last week of classes.)
Schedule any end-of-semester examinations worth more than ten percent of the course grade during the final examination period. Examinations will be scheduled in this period by the University registrar at University Park or the academic affairs officer at other locations (or their designee) based on the notices filed under Section 44-10. (Conflict final examinations are covered under Section 44-25.)
- Where end-of-semester examinations are not administered, require the submission of any alternative integrative and evaluational means worth more than ten percent of the course grade (e.g., term paper, final project report, take-home examinations, or studio projects) no earlier than the first day of the final examination period.
- A study day period shall be scheduled by the University registrar at University Park or the academic affairs officer at other locations (or their designee). For full-semester courses held during the 15 week Fall and Spring semesters, the current standard practice of having two study days (the Saturday and Sunday before finals week) will continue to be required. For courses offered in other instructional periods which are less than a full 15 week semester (such as Summer sessions, Maymester, half-semester courses, etc.) there shall be at least one study day scheduled, after the last day of formal instruction and before the final exam.
Exceptions to the provisions of this policy may be granted only for educational reasons and only as recommended by the faculty of the program offering the course and approved by the appropriate dean or chancellor.