Office of the Dean
Arlie Petters, Dean of Academic Affairs

Final Examinations and Grading Policies

April 13, 2017

Date: April 13, 2017
To: Faculty with students in Trinity College of Arts and Sciences Courses
cc: Dr. Frank Blalark, University Registrar
      William Burig, Associate University Registrar
From:  Arlie O. Petters   
Re: Final Examinations and Grading Policies
As we move toward the end of the spring 2017 semester, I would like to call to your attention certain matters which are governed by policies of the faculty.


Grades are due in the Registrar’s Office within twenty-four hours of the final exam for graduating students and forty-eight hours of the final exam for all other students.  Timely reporting of grades for all students is necessary.  Missing grades may cause students to be disadvantaged in matters such as eligibility for Deans’ list, continuation at Duke for the following semester, etc.  (See “Reporting Grades,” Chapter 6/11 of the Faculty Handbook.)
Final grade rosters for Spring 2017 have been created, and are now available for use in DukeHub.  The Registrar will be sending information on how to use the on-line system.  Otherwise, you can submit your grade rosters, which can still be printed via DukeHub, to the Registrar's Office at 1121 West Main Street, Monday - Friday, between the hours of 8:00-5:00 or they may be faxed to the Registrar's Office.  If you choose to report your grades using the fax system, please do not use red ink.  The fax number is 684-4500.


Faculty policy requires that a grade of "X" be reported if the final examination is missed, unless the student’s grade in the class is based on work previously submitted.  If that work is not sufficient to earn a passing grade, or if the student has not submitted enough work to earn a passing grade, then a grade of "F" may be reported.  A student receiving an "X" should contact the appropriate academic dean within forty-eight hours after the examination or the "X" will become an "F." A more complete statement can be found in Chapter 6/10 of the Faculty Handbook.


Requests from individual students for changes in a final examination are to be honored only in cases where supported by an official excuse from a student’s academic dean.


An Incomplete is to be assigned if, because of illness or other emergency, a student’s work in the course is incomplete, provided that the student has taken the final examination.  Arrangements for an “I” should be made by students through their academic dean. Please note that students who are given permission to take an Incomplete must submit the work by the end of the fifth week of classes in the succeeding semester (unless the instructor establishes an earlier deadline, or their continuation in the College is in question in which case they will have an earlier deadline, as indicated in the Bulletin of Undergraduate Instruction).

New Procedure for Submission of “I” Grades

In the past, “I” grades were automatically converted to “F” for those who failed to finish class requirements by the end of the fifth week of classes in the succeeding semester, or an earlier deadline date as communicated by the instructor, or academic dean.  This is no longer the case. Now, when submitting an “I”, instructors are asked to provide an alternate grade to be awarded in the event that a student does not complete work by the established deadline.  The alternate grade may be determined in one of two ways, 1) the instructor designates a default grade of “F”, if the missing work is not submitted, or 2) the instructor may choose to assume a grade of zero for all missing work and then calculate the student’s performance average.
If the student fails to submit the missing work by the established deadline, the Office of the University Registrar will then post the alternate grade previously reported.
If the student submits the missing work by the established deadline, and the average performance grade is different than the alternate grade previously reported, the instructor may issue a different final grade to the Registrar’s Office. If the instructor does not issue a different final grade, the Office of the University Registrar will then post the alternate grade previously reported.


Students who fail to sit for the final exam, independent of the status of any other course work, should be assigned a grade of “X”.  If the“X” is not approved by the academic dean, the “X” will be converted to a grade of “F” within 48 hours.  If the “X” is approved by the academic dean, students have until the end of the fifth week of classes in the succeeding semester to take a make-up exam (unless the instructor establishes a different exam make-up date, or their continuation in the College is in question in which case they will have an earlier exam make-up date, as indicated in the Bulletin of Undergraduate Instruction).


Students should feel free to meet with instructors to ask questions about their performance on the exam and about the accuracy of the grade assigned.  However, University policy allows grade changes only in the cases of errors in calculation or in transcription.  If you are pressured by students to improve their grade, refer them to their academic dean or to the official policy statement below.
Grade Changes:  It is important to note that with the exception of "I" grades and "X" grades, changes in grades may be made only because of an error in calculation or an error in transcription.  Changes in grades may not be based on the late submission of required work, the resubmission of work previously judged unsatisfactory, or on additional work.  No changes may be made in a grade after the end of the semester following the one for which the grade was assigned, although cases of error discovered after the deadline may be appealed by the student or the instructor to the Office of the Provost.  The purposes of these regulations are to promote accurate record keeping and careful grade reporting, and to protect instructors from student pressure.  The procedures vary slightly in the School of Law.
The University requires that changes in grades other than those designated by "I" or "X" be requested in a letter written on departmental stationery, signed by the instructor, and mailed directly to the University Registrar.  Grade change requests may not be delivered by the student.  The letter should contain the name of the student, the course and section number, the incorrect grade, and the correct grade.  The letter must also state that the reason for the change (see above).


In courses where no final examinations are scheduled, hourly tests may be given during the last week of classes but not during final exam week.


If a final examination is given, it must occur at the time designated in the final examination schedule.  You may not change the date and the time of the final examination even if students in the class agree.  No examination is to be given before 9:00 AM on Monday, May 1, 2017.


Take-home examinations may not require more than three hours of actual writing and are due at the designated time of the final examination based on the time period of the class.


Instructors are requested to retain all final examination papers for at least one year after the date the examination is given.  Examination papers should be available for reference where a final grade is questioned.  (See Chapter 6/7 of the Faculty Handbook).
Your cooperation is greatly appreciated; please do not hesitate to call if you have any questions.