Policy on Exam Disruptions

The policy approved by the Senate Committee on Academic Procedures states that exams will be continued after a disruption provided that the exam hall can be cleared for re-entry within one hour.  If the exam hall cannot be cleared for re-entry within one hour, the exam will be abandoned and instructors consulted.  (This step is taken to ensure that the exams scheduled for the next time slot are not delayed.)   The policy reads:

“If an examination is evacuated with greater than 30 minutes remaining in the exam period, students should expect that the exam will resume if the venue is declared safe within a reasonable time interval. Instructors will be notified as soon as possible and will have the responsibility to decide how to deal with the interruption and its effect on the exam.  In all cases, information will be posted on the departmental web site as soon as possible after a disrupted exam.”

Role of instructor in minimizing the impact of a disrupted exam

1.  Be present at exam. 

To minimize the impact of a disrupted exam, instructors should be present at the exam.  If an exam is disrupted, an instructor is a reassuring presence to students and also has first-hand knowledge of the opportunity students may have had to discuss the exam and judge the extent to which the exam may have been compromised

2.  Follow up with students. 

If the exam resumes after evacuation, or if it is discontinued because of a lengthy delay or real emergency, students will be anxious to know how their performance on the exam will be assessed given the time lost during evacuation, the break in concentration, individual differences in the order the exam questions were answered, etc.  Communicating instructions and plans to students clearly and without delay is key to minimizing the effects of a disrupted exam.    

Options for ensuring fairness in assessment as a result of an exam disruption are noted in Assessing the Impact of Exam Disruption on Students’ Grades.

3.  If the exam must be re-scheduled.

If the exam cannot be continued due to a real emergency, or if the instructor determines that the integrity of the exam has been compromised and results of the exam unusable, the instructor will be given the opportunity to request a re-scheduling of the exam.  If the decision is made immediately after the disruption, the exam may be rescheduled for the next available exam time or to a Sunday afternoon or evening).