Exams, Grades and Accommodations

University nomenclature defines a course as "a unit of study in a subject area by a description of activities." A class is an offering of a course to one or more students.



Examinations & grading

Can electronic devises be used in the gym during an exam?

Electronic devises, including wearable technology (electronic watches, glasses, etc), are not allowed in the gyms unless specifically designated as allowed by the professor. Dictionaries should be paper based and all phones should not be brought into the exam. If a phone is accidentally brought into the exam, it must be turned off and stored in a backpack underneath the desk, and never stored on the person. Students cannot take cell phones into the washroom. 

Can I add an exam to an exam exempt course or remove an exam from a class that is not exam exempt?

You must first obtain approval from your dept head (or college office in a non-departmentalized college) and this must be done before classes are open for registration for that term. If an exam is added to a class from an exam exempt course, or removed from a course that is to have final exams, then this should be stated in the syllabus. When approval is granted to change the final exam status of the class, please contact classbuild@usask.ca and we will adjust the class to reflect the approval. To change the exam exempt status on the course itself, please obtain approval from your college and contact catalogue@usask.ca to have the change made.

How can I avoid having a religious conflict with my exam?

The University tries to avoid any religious conflicts for instructors. Early in the exam scheduling process instructors will be asked to fill out an Exam Information Sheet. On this form they will be asked if there are any dates which we cannot schedule an exam due to religious conflicts. Instructors can fill this out and we will not schedule an exam for them on that day.

What if a student has a religious conflict with an exam?

If a student has an exam scheduled on a religious holiday and needs the date changed, they must fill out the exam conflict application form. Directions are provided for students. Once students have completed this process, the exams office will contact the instructor and arrange an alternate date for the student. The exam may be invigilated by the instructor or the exam office. The student will be informed of the new exam date by email or phone.

What if the instructor is late to or misses the scheduled final exam?

The instructor must call the examinations office immediately (966-6726) or contact their dept secretary. Students are waiting and if extra time is needed to give the students full time, we may have to negotiate with the room owner to see if we can have any additional time. This is not guaranteed.

Can exams be scheduled off-campus for an on-campus class?

The examinations office will not schedule an exam to be off-campus for on-campus classes.

Can I still use a WF grade comment when submitting final grades?

No, the WF grade comment is no longer in use . Prior to May 2012, a student that had withdrawn from a class after the academic penalty deadline was assigned a failing grade along with a grade comment of WF. The new registration policy, starting May 2012,  is that students can no longer drop the class after the academic penalty date therefore alleviating the need for the WF grade comment. If a student has not written the final exam or not submitted required work, the grade comment of INF (Incomplete Fail) is attached and a grade of no greater than 49% is assigned as a final grade.

When do I use the INF grade comment?

The INF grade comment is only used when entering a final failing grade (a failing percentage, or a final grade of Fail or No Credit) when a student does not complete the coursework for a class (e.g. The student does not submit a compulsory portion of the class as stated on the syllabus). It is not used when the student withdraws before the withdrawal deadline and receives a final grade of W.

What is the process for submitting a change of grade?

On September 6th, 2012 the current paper-based grade change process will be replaced with a new web-based grade change request and approval process. The new web-based grade change process will provide improved security, faster turnaround time, better communication, and reduce paper usage.

Instructors will be able to access the new grade change request process from the Instructor Services menu (which is accessed via the Instructor Services link in the Instructor & Advisor Services channel under the Academics tab in PAWS).

Departmental and college administrators who submit grade changes will be able to access the new grade change request process from the Grade Entry menu (which is accessed via the Grade Entry link in the Instructor & Advisor Services channel under the Academics tab in PAWS).

A detailed instruction manual for entering & approving grade changes will be made available in the begining of September and will be found on SESD’s Information for Instructors and Staff webpage (Grade Change Manual).  

Can I change the date, time or location of the final exam?

Once the Examinations Office has scheduled final examinations for a term, instructors wanting to change the date and/or time of their final examination must obtain the consent of all students (100% of the class) according to procedures established by the Registrar, as well as authorization from the Department Head, or Dean in non-departmentalized Colleges. The examination unit will then try to accommodate this approved change but due to many constraints may not be able to do so. Location changes may be made if the room is unsuitable. Please check your room before the exam date and the examinations unit will see if changing the room is possible. This is not guaranteed.

What do I need to do if I am not available on the date for which my final exam is scheduled?

If you are not available on the date of your final exam, you must arrange invigilation coverage through your department or College office for non-departmentalized colleges. Registrarial Services schedules thousands of exams for nearly 20,000 students. It is not easy to reschedule a scheduled examination therefore it is the responsibility of the instructor to arrange for invigilation coverage.

A student needs to travel on University business (E.g Huskie Athletics, academic conference, performing arts etc.) What accommodations do I need to provide?

If such activities conflict with class attendance, course work, or exams, then a student shall be granted accommodation for attendance and assessment requirements (exams, deadlines for assignments, availability of materials, etc.). The student must arrange accommodations with the instructor and a Student Permission to Travel For University Business form will need to be completed and signed. Denials of accommodation will be appealed to the Dean of the instructor’s college.

DSS Exam Accommodation

The Exam Accommodation Program assists students with their exams. The accommodations a student uses are determined by his/her medical documentation and/or psycho-educational assessment. Accommodations range from a private examination room, additional time, and the use of a reader/scribe to specialized equipment and restrictions on how many exams a student can write within a specified period of time. Students writing exams through DSS are expected to adhere to all U of S examination policies and DSS takes academic integrity very seriously. For more information, please view the information available to students using the program. Questions may be directed to dssexams@usask.ca.

How the DSS Exam  Program works

The University community as a whole has a responsibility to provide accommodations and supports to assist students with disabilities to succeed. The DSS Exam Program assists both instructors and students by providing exam accommodations to eligible students.

  • Only students registered with DSS, and who have valid and current medical documentation or a psycho-educational assessment on file, are eligible to use exam accommodations. Students may use only those accommodations that are specifically outlined in their documentation.
  • Students must meet deadlines for requesting to write exams through DSS. We are not able to accept late requests for any reason, due to high demand of our services and resource shortages..
  • Students fill out an online request form for each exam they wish to write through our office. The link for the form is available on their DSS PAWS tab. Once an applicable deadline has passed, the online form will not accept requests for accommodations.
  • DSS Exam Program staff work on a week-by-week basis. Generally, we send requests for exam copies at least one week prior to the exam date. This is not always possible during the summer, due to shorter student deadlines. In the fall/winter, we usually send requests each Monday for exams to be written during the subsequent week. Due to the number of exams we handle, requests are always sent to departmental or college offices, in care of a designated contact person at that office. We rely on our departmental contacts to assist us by distributing our requests to the appropriate instructors.
  • Requests include an “Instructions for Exam Invigilation” form. Please fill that out and include it with the exam copy to ensure we invigilate the exam fairly.
  • Students are notified of the exam location through the same web form that they use to request exam accommodations. The DSS Exam Program has 6 individual exam spaces in their area; when necessary, additional spaces are booked through Room Scheduling, FMD. Whether students write in an individual or shared space, they are strictly supervised and must adhere to U of S exam policies. Other than a writing instrument and paper, students cannot take anything into the exam room, unless DSS is previously advised differently by the instructor.
  • If a student has documentation on file that supports the use of a computer or laptop while writing an exam, please know that DSS provides non-networked computers for word processing purposes only. Unless an instructor gives written permission, students are never allowed to take in personal computing devices or other electronics.
  • We request that exam copies be received at least two business days in advance. This allows us time to print and package exams, and to prepare them for pickup by the invigilators and scribes. As well, some students require an alternate format exam copy, such as large print, which can take additional time as we reformat pages.
  • Exams may be sent by email to dssexams@usask.ca or by fax to 966-1170. Paper copies can be sent to or dropped off at Room 32, College Building.We discourage the use of campus mail for sending exam copies to us.
  • Once exams are received, they are handled with the utmost care with respect to examination security.
  • At DSS, exams are almost always written on the same day and begun at the same as the rest of the class. Exceptions are made for the following reasons:
    • If the student has a class immediately following the exam and would miss that class, or part of that class, by staying late to use extra time, we begin the student early so that s/he finishes at the same time as the rest of the class.
    • If the exam is in a night class, we begin the student early so that s/he finishes at the same time as the rest of the class. For personal security reasons, we will not require staff or students to stay on campus past 10:00 p.m.
    • If the student requires a date and/or time change for other reasons, the student must get the instructor’s permission for the new date and time before submitting the request to write the exam.
  • Exams can be picked up at DSS once they are completed; or, we will deliver the next business day.

Deferred and Supplemental Exams

Deferred exams: A deferred examination is the sitting of a final examination at a time other than the scheduled time and date. A deferred examination may be granted to a student who is not able to complete a final examination through no fault of his/her own, for medical, compassionate, or other valid reasons. These examinations are granted under regulations established by the college and subject to the Academic Courses Policy.

Supplemental exams: A supplemental examination is the re-writing of a final examination. A student may be granted a supplemental examination under regulations established by the college and subject to the Academic Courses Policy.

Regular deferred/supplemental exam periods
Term 1 - during  February break
Term 2 – mid-June  
Spring/Summer – second week of September

Special deferred and supplemental exams: the college may, under extenuating circumstances, grant a special deferred or supplemental examination to a student who submits satisfactory evidence of inability to be present at the deferred or supplemental examination under regulations established the Academic Courses Policy and the college.

When and where can I find the exam schedule for deferred/supplemental exams?

The schedule will be posted 2-3 weeks before the exam session.

What instructions should my cover sheet for a deferred/supplemental exam include?

Information such as the length of time allowed for the exam, open/closed book, and any other special instruction (eg: if a formula sheet or calculator are allowed, etc). Computer based exams cannot be accomodated during the regular supplemental/deferred exam period.

Can I accommodate a student’s request for a deferred exam without college approval? Can I invigilate a regular deferred or supplemental exam on my own?

No, a student must have college approval. You can invigilate an approved deferred or supplemental but you will have to inform the exam office of this decision.

Do I have to make up a new exam for the student or can I use the same final exam?

Please check with your college and department guidelines but it is recommended.

When does the exams office need the deferred/supplemental exam by?

Exam must be supplied one week prior to start of the deferred/supplemental exam session. If the exam has not been received by this deadline, Registrarial Services will issue one reminder. If the exam is still not received, the arrangement for invigilation will be the responsibility of the instructor/department.

What do I need to do if the student has not written their deferred exam?

The grades will be entered by Registrarial Services.  We will take the grade that they have when they were authorized with a grade comment of INF.


There are a few rules and regulations around exam invigilation you should be aware of:

Instructor Arrival Time

Instructors need to arrive 30 minutes prior to the examination time.

Room Preparation

Arriving 30 minutes early allows you time to get the room ready, hand out exams, and have students seated by the time the exam is scheduled to start. In a gym or large classroom, it can take 5-10 minutes to get students seated. If you plan on handing out exams after students are seated, please bring assistants to help you.

30-Minute Rule

Students are not allowed to leave the examination room until 30 minutes after the start of the examination.  The instructor can also deny entrance to a student if he or she arrives later than 30 minutes after the start of the examination.  A student denied admission to the examination under this regulation may apply to his or her College for a deferred final examination; such application will be subject to consideration under the usual criteria.


Students are required to have suitable identification (intact student I.D. card or other government issued picture I.D.) available during examinations.  Invigilators may request that students produce such identification during examinations.  If a student claims not to have any proof of identity, the student can be required to present suitable I.D. to the invigilator at some mutually agreeable time and place.  The student shall be informed that failure to appear at the agreed upon time and place will constitute an irregularity that will be reported to the invigilator's Dean. Students writing in the gym will also need to fill out the failure to produce proper identification form if they do not produce valid I.D. 

No unauthorized assistance

Students shall not bring into the examination room any books, papers, calculators or any other electronic devices (such as laptops or netbooks, tablets, cell phones, etc.), or other materials except as indicated on the examination paper or with permission of the invigilator.  Students shall hold no communication of any kind with anyone other than the invigilator while the examination is in progress.

Student Cheating

If you catch a student cheating, remove the item they are cheating with (cell phone, book, notes, etc) but let the student continue to write.  Once the student is finished writing the exam, discuss the violation with them and follow the steps as outlined for student academic misconduct beginning with the informal procedures.


Students who need to leave the examination room for any reason require the permission of the invigilator or proctor.  Before leaving the examination room, students are required to sign a tally sheet indicating their attendance at the examination and submission of examination materials.

Emergency Evacuation

If the examination is interrupted by fire alarm, power outage, or similar emergency requiring evacuation, the invigilator should lead the students out of the examination room in an orderly fashion.  The invigilator should, to the extent that this is possible, advise the students not to communicate with each other about the examination and supervise the students until the resumption of the examination.  If the situation requires cancellation of the examination, it will be rescheduled by the Registrar at the earliest practical date and time.


Cheating is a serious offense and continues to persist among students. Instructors play an important role in preventing and catching cheating. Instructors should be familiar with the policies on academic misconduct.

How can I prevent cheating?

There are many actions that instructors can take to prevent cheating. Begin by discussing cheating with your class prior to exams, and direct students to read the University of Saskatchewan’s definition of cheating as found in the Regulations on Student Academic Misconduct. Other options include:

  • Use multiple versions of tests
  • When possible, use assigned seating during tests
  • Move students after they have sat down if you suspect cheating
  • Leave spaces or empty chairs between students
  • For large classes, use multiple proctors
  • Check student IDs
  • Use the timer setting in Blackboard to ensure that course material is removed once your final exam begins

What should I watch for during exams?

  • Ensure that all materials are stored in backpacks underneath their desks and students cannot access those materials
  • Check washrooms before exams and (if possible) have a proctor accompany students to the washroom
  • Watch for use of any electronic devices
  • Cheat notes can be written on water bottles, hats, clothing, skin, desks, and paper
  • Be vigilant
    • Watch students' eyes (if they are wandering or staring frequently at something) and hand movements
    • Listen for rhythmic sounds (such as coughing or tapping which could be codes)
    • Wander the room continuously

What do I do if I catch a student cheating?

If you catch a student cheating, remove the item they are cheating with (cell phone, book, notes, etc) but let the student continue to write. Once the student is finished writing the exam, discuss the violation with them and follow the steps as outlined for student academic misconduct beginning with the informal procedures.

Student Appeals

The By-Laws Committee of University Council is charged with the responsibility of recommending rules and procedures to deal with allegations of academic dishonesty on the part of students, and also to recommend rules and procedures to deal with appeals by students and former students concerning academic decisions affecting them; the University Secretary is charged with administering the procedures and enforcing the rules approved by University Council. Complete regulations governing student appeals and discipline as well as academic dishonesty can be found at the Student Conduct and Appeals website.

Student Appeals

The University Secretary also provides a visual representation of ther Student Appeals Process Chart.

Students who wish to raise questions or register complaints about matters of academic standing should be encouraged and strongly advised to communicate informally with their instructors, Department Heads, and Deans, before seeking a review under formal procedures. Experience shows that the great majority of questions or complaints of this kind can be resolved satisfactorily through informal communication.

To make a formal appeal of academic standing based on substantive academic judgment, an undergraduate student must follow the procedures set forth for consultation with the instructor and rereads; for more information on this process see the section of the Handbook dealing with Grades and also the Council Regulations on Student Appeals in Academic Matters available from the University Secretary’s office or on the Academic Honestly website.Copies of the Re-assessment Form and the University Appeals Form can be found on the University Secretary's website. The result of a rereading procedure is final; there is no further appeal.

A separate set of procedures exists for graduate students appealing academic standing or status; following informal consultation with the instructor (where feasible), these students should be advised to consult informally with the graduate chair of the program or the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research before invoking formal procedures. If, after these informal consultations, the student is unsatisfied, he or she may petition the Graduate Academic Affairs Committee of the College of Graduate Studies and Research for a formal ruling on the matter. If the concern relates to a written examination, essay or research paper, the studnent may request, or the committee may institute a re-read procedure similar to that for undergraduate studnets using the Re-assessment Form. If the concern involves any other type of assessment, the committee shall consider and rule on it. The ruling by the Graduate Academic Affairs Committee of the College of Graduate Studies and Research on a matter of substantive academic judgement will be final. This includes the decisions on the acceptibility of the thesis and the results of oral examinations.  Further details are found on the Student Academic Honesty website.

Appeals of academic standing involving factors other than substantive academic judgment are to be made in writing within 30 days to the Dean of the College offering the class, who will instruct the Department Head to arrange for an informal investigation of the allegation. The Dean will inform the student in writing as to the outcome of the investigation. If the student feels that his or her academic work or performance has been effected by a factor not involving academic judgement, they may apeall using the University Appeal Form.


The Notetaking Program facilitates the sharing of  volunteers’ lecture notes, through Blackboard Learn to eligible students. The program may assist students who have difficulty physically taking notes, who have difficulty hearing the lecture, or who may be easily distracted. The program is confidential for both the Notetaker  and the DSS registered student . Notetakers are found through targeted PAWS announcements and emails, and are granted a small honorarium as thanks for their services. For more information about how the program works for students, please take a look at our Notetaking Program information. Questions about the program may be directed to dssnotetaking@usask.ca.

Alternate Format Textbooks

The Alternate Format Textbook Program is DSS’s newest program, offering support to eligible students who require their reading materials in large print, audio format, and/or electronic format (e-texts). DSS has partnered with the University of Saskatchewan Printing Services to provide students with e-texts when the textbooks they require are not already available in electronic format. For more information on how the program works for students, please take a look at our Alternate Format Textbook Program information. Questions about the program may be directed to altformat@usask.ca.