Final Exam Guidance


Exams and assessments have been a large part of how we measure student success.  As we have transitioned to remote instruction, we need to re-examine the traditional exam format of evaluation for all students. Please keep the following in mind as you plan your final exams.  

  • The Engineering Honor Code is applicable even in the remote setting. Exam proctoring is inconsistent with the tenets of the Honor Code and is not permitted.  
  • Not all students have access to reliable broadband or printing capabilities.
  • Keep in mind that your students are likely to be in different time zones and countries.
  • Establish guidelines for acceptable use of resources, notes, course materials, collaboration with classmates to make clear your exam instructions and expectations.
  • Reassure students that exams are being adapted to meet remote needs. 

We suggest that instructors move away from high stakes, closed book, timed, and scheduled examinations towards alternative assessment strategies. The obvious alternative would be to offer students untimed, open book, open note exams, though there are many other options for assessments that provide students opportunities to demonstrate original thought, reflection, and application of concepts.  Email to ask questions or to discuss your ideas with an instructional designer. We also suggest that you refer to the Nexus Quality Standards for Assessments for additional guidelines, best practices and tips for remote testing.

For those who want to administer timed exams at the Registrar’s scheduled time, we have the following recommendations. 

  • Students who live in time zones that would cause them to be taking an exam before 7am or after 9pm their local time have grounds to request an alternative exam. Please accommodate them.
  • Students with unreliable internet access could be disadvantaged if the exam is timed.  If you must have a timed exam, consider extending the exam time.
  • Distribute different versions of the exam to reduce the opportunity for inappropriate collaboration. 
  • Make yourself available and let students know how they can reach you to answer their questions during the scheduled exam period. 
  • Do a trial run with your students before the exam to ensure they understand how to upload and download their exam files. 

For those of you interested in sharing your thoughts and approaches, we started a Slack Workspace called COE Remote Teaching Forum to collect these ideas.  Please feel free to contribute to the discussion.

Thank you again for your hard work this semester!

Stay well,

Joanna Millunchick, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education

Mary-Ann Mycek, Associate Dean for Graduate and Professional Education