University Policies

Approval Date: 05/03/88
Revision Dates: 2/14/06, 4/16/20
Approved By: President and Faculty Senate

Policy on Final Examinations

Among the tasks of instruction is that of evaluation of a student's performance. Each course has its own particular parameters, and the evaluation procedure in any one course is not necessarily the same as that in other courses. However, the most commonly used evaluation technique is that of periodic written examinations or papers during the course, and a final examination at the end of the course. The final examination procedure has become so universal and accepted that a final examination period is set aside at the end of the semester in most colleges and universities. The policy and procedures involving final examinations at WIU are set out below:

  1. Within University guidelines, each college through its departments shall be responsible for final examinations in the college. The Faculty Senate and the Academic Vice President of the University shall be responsible for establishing a final examination schedule.
  2. It is expected that a final examination will be given in each course. However, if the character of a course is such that a final examination is impracticable or unnecessary, the instructor, with the approval of the department chairperson, may waive this requirement. The chairperson of each department shall report to the Dean of the college all courses for which final examinations have been waived. The final examination is considered one of a course's scheduled meeting periods. Thus, a course in which a final is not given must still meet during this time.
  3. Final examinations for all courses will be administered or collected at the scheduled final examination period. The final examination period will extend over five days. If the instructor wishes to deviate from the final examination schedule, he or she must secure advance written approval from each student in the course, the department chairperson, and the college dean. In the case of multiple-period classes, the first period of the class shall determine the scheduled final examination period. Evening classes will have their final examination during the prescribed final examination period on the evening for which the class is scheduled.
  4. A student should not be required to complete more than three final examinations on any one examination day. Any student having more than three scheduled exams on one day is entitled to rescheduling. The student should contact the instructor of the course having the smallest enrollment and that instructor must allow a rescheduling of the examination.
  5. A student who must miss a scheduled final examination for reasons beyond the student's control shall report this fact to the instructor as soon as possible, preferably before the examination period. The instructor should attempt to reschedule the final examination during the final examination period. Students whose absence at the final examination is unexcused should receive a failing grade for the examination. An Incomplete should be given only if the student has a valid excuse for not taking the final and it is impossible to schedule a make-up examination before final grades must be turned in to the Registrar's Office.
  6. Common (or departmental) finals, which are exceptions to the printed final examination schedule, must be approved by CAGAS. Requests for permission to administer common finals in specific courses shall be forwarded to CAGAS through the department chairperson and college dean. The original request to administer common finals shall contain justification for this examination procedure. Permission to administer a common final exam shall be reviewed by CAGAS every four years.
    By the fourth week of each semester each department having permission to administer common finals in specific courses shall forward to the scheduling office through CAGAS a letter of intent to administer common finals that semester.
  7. Final grades will be due in the Registrar's Office no later than four days following the last scheduled exam.
  8. No tests or exams are to be given on the Thursday and Friday of the week preceding final exam week, with the exception of laboratory final exams.
  9. University- and/or student-sponsored activities shall not be scheduled during the final examination period or one calendar day prior to the final examination week. Included are all cultural, athletic, and extracurricular activities. Appeals for exceptions to and interpretations of this policy shall be made to the Council on Admission, Graduation and Academic Standards (CAGAS) -- if there are unusual circumstances surrounding a given event. In no case may such an event be scheduled during a time when a primary participant in an event is scheduled for an examination.
  10. Final exam times are not automatically assigned for irregularly scheduled classes (not meeting the full semester) or for the following course types:
    • Online/Distance
    • Hybrid
    • Independent Study/Research
    • Internships/Student Teaching/Field Work
    • Directed Study/Research
    • Extension/Off-Campus
    • Travel Study
    • Study Abroad
    • Arranged meeting days, times, and/or locations

When emergency closures of the university and alternative format conversion of in person courses occur after the start of the semester, the official final exam schedule is not enforced for reasons similar to Rule 5 above. If a course is converted from in person to alternative format, then the final exam for that course cannot be scheduled to end before the day and time the in person final exam would have ended. For example, if a class began as a 1 p.m. T/TH course with a scheduled exam period of 1-2:50 p.m. on Thursday of exam week, then the alternative format exam cannot end earlier than 2:50 p.m. on Thursday of exam week. The official final exam schedule can be found at
All other rules governing final exams remain.