|The University currently requires a final examination in every undergraduate course unless written permission is granted by the unit head (Policy Number V-1.00(A), Paragraph II.A.1.c). During the pandemic and the on-line teaching environment this requirement was relaxed. After discussion with campus leaders, there was support for permanently relaxing this requirement. There are other valid means of helping students integrate instructional material and evaluate student achievement. Course instructors should be allowed to determine which method is best for their course and discipline.
While we are proposing the removal of the explicit requirement for a final exam, we also want to ensure that students are not given excessive amounts of work during the final week of classes as they prepare for finals in other courses and that the full academic calendar is fully utilized. For courses that continue to administer final examinations, they should still adhere to the final examination schedule in accordance with Paragraph II.A.1.i.2) of the same policy.
After reviewing final examination policies in place at other institutions, the policy at Penn State seems to largely address the needs and concerns that we have. Our proposed change to the existing policy is modeled after theirs.
Modify Policy Number V-1.00(A), Paragraph II.A.1.c to read:
“There shall be no comprehensive examinations during the last week of classes. Quizzes and narrowly limited tests worth no more than 10% of the course grade may be given. Final examinations worth more than 10% of the course grade shall be scheduled during the established final examination period. The due date for alternative means of evaluation (term papers, final projects, etc.) worth more than 10% of the course grade shall be set during the final examination period. Alternative means of evaluation worth 10% or less of the course grade may be due prior to the last day of the course.