Term Work, Tests, and Appeals

Term Work

Assignments (or equivalent work) and examinations (including term tests) are normally required for standing in courses. In courses where only one form of evaluation is used, a single piece of work should not normally count for all of the final mark. Self-evaluation by individual students or groups of students is not permissible unless the specific consent of the Committee on Academic Standards is received.

No later than the first day of classes, a syllabus will be accessible to students via the Timetable. The information on this page will include the methods by which student performance will be evaluated, and their relative weight in the final mark, including any discretionary factor and the due dates. These methods must be in accordance with applicable university and faculty policies.

Once the weight of each component of the course work is given, it may not be changed unless approved by a majority of the students are present and voting at a regularly scheduled meeting of the class. Notice of a vote must be announced at the regularly scheduled class meeting prior to that at which the vote will be conducted.

Instructors shall return by the deadline one or more marked assignments and/or term tests worth a combined total of at least 15% of the total course mark for H courses and 25% for Y courses. The deadline for returning such marked work shall be the last regular class meeting prior to the academic drop date, with one exception: for courses that run the entire Fall/Winter Session (Y5Y or H5Y courses), the deadline shall be the last regular class meeting of the first week of classes in January.

All term work must be submitted on or before the last day of classes in the course concerned, unless an alternate date is specified by the instructor. Students who for reasons beyond their control wish to seek an extension of this deadline must obtain approval from their instructor for an extension of the deadline. This extension may be for no longer than the end of the final examination period. If additional time beyond this period is required, students must petition through the Office of the Registrar for a further extension of the deadline. See Extension of Time Beyond the End of Term under the Petitions section of this Calendar.

Assignments are the property of the student and must be returned. Students must make any inquiries about the mark on a graded piece of work within one month of the return date of the work. Unclaimed term work must be kept by the instructor/department for one year after the end of the course.

Study Breaks, Reading Weeks, and Examination Periods

Study Breaks take place immediately following the last day of classes of each term. Reading Weeks are scheduled in the Fall (late October) and in the Spring (four days following Family Day).

During Study Breaks or Reading Weeks:

  • No new content may be introduced
  • Optional review sessions may be held
  • Instructors may offer extended office hours, at their discretion
  • Presentations that are being graded may not be held
  • Term tests may not be held
  • Make up tests may be scheduled during study break
  • Make up tests may be scheduled during reading week, only if mutually agreed upon by instructor and students.

During the Examination Periods:

  • No make-up tests or mid-term tests may be held
  • Oral exams (including presentation exams) must be scheduled through the Office of the Registrar as per all other exams.

Re-marking Pieces of Term Work 

A student who believes that their written term work has been unfairly marked may ask the person who marked the work for re-evaluation. Students have up to one month from the date of return of an item of term work to inquire about the mark. If the student is not satisfied with this re-evaluation, they may appeal to the instructor in charge of the course if the work was not marked by the instructor (e.g., was marked by a TA). Such re-marking may involve the entire piece of work, and may raise or lower the mark.

Any appeal of the mark beyond the instructor in the course may only be made for term work worth at least 20% of the course mark. Such appeals must be made in writing to the Department Chair/Institute Director within one month after the work was returned, explaining in detail why the student believes that the mark is inappropriate. The appeal must summarize all previous communications between the student and previous markers of the work. The student must submit the original marked piece of work.

If the Department Chair/Institute Director believes that re-marking is justified, they shall select an independent reader. The student must agree in writing to be bound by the results of the re-reading process or abandon the appeal.

Where possible, the independent reader should be given a clean, anonymous copy of the work. Without knowing the original assigned mark, the reader will determine a mark for the work. The marking of the work should be considered within the context of the course of instruction for which it was submitted. If the new mark differs substantially from the original mark, the department will determine a final mark taking into account both available marks.

The final level of appeal is to the Office of the Vice-Principal, Academic and Dean. Appeals must already have been considered at the two previous levels (Instructor, followed by Department Chair/Institute Director), with the decision reviewed by the head of the academic unit (i.e., Chair or Director), before they will be considered by the Office of the Dean. Appeals must be submitted in writing, and include all previous correspondence, as soon as possible after the student receives the final response from the academic unit, but no later than one month after. Appeals to the Office of the Dean about the marking of term work will be reviewed to ensure that appropriate procedures have been followed in earlier appeals, that the student has been treated fairly, and that the standards applied have been consistent with those applied to other students doing the assignment. Any mark resulting from such an appeal will become the new mark, whether it is higher or lower or the same as the previous one. This process applies only to term work; requests for re-reads of final examinations are handled directly by the Office of the Registrar.

Grades Review and Department Appeals

The Office of the Vice-Principal, Academic and Dean administers the grading regulations and reviews course grades submitted by department chairs. The department is responsible for assigning the official course grades, which are communicated to the students through ACORN.

Each chair may appoint a departmental review committee to review grades submitted by instructors. The committee may ask for clarification of any anomalous results or distributions, or disparity between sections of the same course. Both the departmental review committee, through the chair, and the divisional review committee, through the dean, have the right, in consultation with the instructor of the course, to adjust marks where there is an obvious and unexplained discrepancy between the marks submitted and the perceived standards of the university. Final marks are official, and may be communicated to the student only after the review procedure has taken place.

Grades, as an expression of the instructor's best judgment of each student's overall performance, will not be determined by any system of quotas.

Departmental Appeals

Issues arising within a course that concern the pedagogical relationship of the instructor and the student, such as essays, term work, term tests, grading practices, or conduct of instructors, fall within the authority of the department. Students are entitled to seek resolution of these issues, either orally or in writing to the course instructor and, if needed, the department chair for resolution.

Following a response from the department chair, students may submit an appeal, in writing, to the Vice-Principal, Academic and Dean.

Term Tests

No term test, or combination of term tests in an individual course, held in the last two weeks of classes at the end of term, may have a total weight greater than 25% of the final mark.

All term tests must be held on or before the last day of classes, and no term test may be scheduled during study break or the examination period. Term tests may be held outside of regularly scheduled class time (including Saturdays), provided that the term test date and time are available to students in the course syllabus before the first class.

Missed Term Tests

Students who miss a term test will be assigned a mark of zero for that test unless they are granted special consideration.

If the term test was missed for reasons entirely beyond the student’s control, they must consult the missed test policy in their course syllabus, and follow the instructions outlined to request special consideration for this term work. This request must explain the reason for missing the test and include appropriate documentation (e.g. Verification of Student Illness or Injury form).

A student who is granted special consideration by the instructor may be granted a makeup test or a redistribution of weighting of other graded work. If the course has no other term work as part of the evaluation, a makeup test will be given. In no case may the weighting of the final examination in a 100-level course be increased beyond two-thirds of the total course mark.

If the student is granted permission to take a makeup test and misses it, then they are assigned a mark of zero for the test unless the instructor is satisfied that missing the makeup test was unavoidable. Students are not automatically entitled to a second makeup test.