The Administrative Board has accumulated considerable experience in dealing with irregularities in exam administration. The Board or its designees have considered, for example, multiple cases of late submission, technical difficulties, personal emergencies, requests for grade changes, and the like. Based on this experience, the Board has adopted the following standing policies regarding exams.
1. Student Obligations in the Event of Exam Problems
If a problem arises during the administration of an in-person or on-campus in-class exam, such as the sudden onset of an illness or a computer malfunction, the proper course is for the student to ask a proctor for help. If the student is unsatisfied with the proctor’s resolution, the student must contact the Registrar’s office or the Dean of Student’s office immediately.
If a problem arises during the administration of a take-home exam, such as the sudden onset of an illness, a computer malfunction, or technical difficulties with exam submission, the student must contact the Registrar’s office or the Dean of Student’s office immediately. If the problem arises outside the normal exam hours of those offices, the student should leave a message with and send an email to both the Registrar and the Dean of Students, establishing a record of the timing of the problem, and the student should contact the Registrar’s office or the Dean of Student’s office again immediately after those offices open.
A student who fails to comply with his or her obligations during the administration of an exam may be subject to disciplinary proceedings.
2. Grading Relief for Exam Maladministration
A student may petition the Board to change the student’s grade or grant other appropriate relief if the student believes that a maladministration compromised the student’s exam performance. The petition may not be more than 2,000 words and must be submitted within a reasonable deadline established by the Secretary of the Board in consultation with the Chair. The Board will not normally entertain such a petition unless the student acted responsibly in affirmatively trying to comply with the above procedures.
3. Late Exams
Starting or submitting an exam late or appearing late to take an in-person or on-campus exam without prior authorization will be referred by the Registrar to the Board for consideration of whether to initiate disciplinary proceedings. Relevant factors in the Board’s consideration will be whether the student previously started or submitted an exam late, appeared late to take an exam, or otherwise failed to take an exam during the designated window, and the extent to which the student acted responsibly in affirmatively trying to start or submit the exam on time or appear to take the exam on time and in contacting the Registrar or Dean of Students about the student’s lateness. If the Board initiates disciplinary proceedings, the exam grade will be held in abeyance pending resolution of those proceedings, which will include a decision by the Board on whether the exam will be allowed and if so on what grading basis.
If the Board declines to initiate disciplinary proceedings, the exam presumptively will be graded on a CR-LP-F basis. The student will be given notice prior to the application of this presumption. Upon receiving that notice, the student may submit a petition of not more than 2,000 words to the Board within a reasonable deadline established by the Secretary of the Board in consultation with the Chair to explain why under the circumstances the student’s exam should be exempted from this presumptive CR-LP-F disposition. The Board will not normally grant an exemption other than upon a compelling explanation for why CR-LP-F grading is not warranted by considerations of fairness to the other students, given the possibility of advantage from late start or submission, late appearance, or failure to take the exam during the designated exam window, and the need to protect the overall integrity of the grades for the entire class. The Board will also consider the extent to which the student acted responsibly in affirmatively trying to start or submit the exam on time or appear to take the exam on time and the student’s history, if any, of prior late exams.
4. Prohibited Contact With Faculty and Self Identification
HLS rules prohibit student contact with faculty, their assistants, teaching fellows, and course support staff in regard to the scheduling or administration of an exam for that student in particular before, during, and after the exam until the student’s grade is posted. Such contact is prohibited even if the anonymity of the student’s exam is preserved. All inquiries about the particulars of exam administration must be directed to the Dean of Students or the Registrar. HLS rules also prohibit self-identification within an answer to an exam. The Board will consider on a case-by-case basis whether to initiate disciplinary proceedings against a student who engages in such prohibited contact or self-identification in violation of these rules.
Approved by the Board on November 18, 2020,
superseding all prior standing exam policies.