7. Undergraduate Evaluation, Examinations, and Academic Records Information
This section contains undergraduate academic records information from the evaluation of assignments and examinations to examination invigilation regulations, transcript requests, and the release of confidential information. Unofficial marks or grades may be released to students over the telephone by tutors, designated staff, Information Centre staff, Office of the Registrar, learning centres, and the academic centres. Students must positively identify themselves and are reminded that marks and grades released over the telephone have no official standing.
7.1. Grading Policy
Assignments and examinations are the basic means of evaluating students. Your evaluation is based upon the degree of achievement of pre-defined learning objectives and is expressed in percentages. The final grade is normally determined by a weighted average of the marks for all assignments and examinations. The passing grade in undergraduate courses (unless otherwise stipulated in the course outline) is 50 per cent. Course work must be submitted on or before the contract date (see Section 18 - Glossary for definition).
7.1.1. Cumulative Average
A cumulative average is calculated for all Athabasca University students. In the case of precluded, cross listed, and/or repeated courses, the grade assigned to the course being awarded credit will be the one used in the calculation of the average.
All failing grades (excluding grades of 'WF' [Withdrawal Failure; see 6.8 Course Withdrawals]) will be calculated into the cumulative average. Failures are shown on the transcript as a grade of 'F.' The actual percentage grade earned by a student for a failed course is also reflected on the transcript. Before September 1989 the passing grade was 60 per cent unless otherwise stipulated.
Graduate programs use different scales. These are outlined in the specific information for each graduate program (see Section 9 - Graduate Programs of Study).
7.1.2. Notification of Grades
Marks for assignments are generally handled by the tutor, and students should contact their tutor to discuss assignments and/or marks. Marks for midterm examinations are generally handled within the various academic units and by tutors. Students should contact the appropriate academic centre or their tutor if they have questions regarding midterm marks.
For each course completed, the Office of the Registrar provides you with a statement of the composite grade achieved in the course (final grade) and the credits earned for the course. Course composite (final) grades cannot be computed until all course requirements (e.g., labs, assignments, essays, tests, quizzes, examinations) have been completed and marked. Neither the Office of the Registrar nor the academic centres will be able to provide you or a third party with interim or estimated final grades until all course requirements have been completed and marked.
Unofficial marks or grades may be released to students over the telephone by tutors, or by designated staff in the Office of the Registrar, learning centres, and the academic centres. The student must be positively identified. Marks and grades released over the telephone have no official standing.
7.1.3. Requests to Rush Final Grades
While Athabasca University makes every effort to expedite the marking of examinations, particularly when students wish to transfer the course to another institution, it does not have the resources to meet unrealistic time expectations. Students are recommended to write examinations and submit assignments four to six weeks before the date the final grade is required. This will allow time for marking and mailing.
7.1.4. Determination of Final Grades When Course Work Outstanding
Course work must be submitted on or before the contract date (see Section 18 - Glossary for definition).
When course work remains outstanding three months after the course contract date, a mark of zero will be awarded to the outstanding course work and a final grade will be calculated.
If the course has a mandatory component (e.g., a quiz, an assignment, or a minimum grade on all assignments or quizzes), this component must be completed in order to pass the course. The assignment of a grade of zero on such components may result in a failing grade being assigned to the course.
Note: Some courses, especially those with lab components, are offered only at specific times of the year, and are exempted from this policy. Please contact the academic centre offering the course for specific information.
7.2.1. Examination Invigilation Network
Whenever possible, a University representative invigilates examinations. This helps to ensure all home study students write their examinations under similar conditions; conditions conducive to success, quality, security, and the integrity of examinations and courses, and credentials awarded by Athabasca University.
Using a University representative allows us to expedite examination papers to invigilators resulting in a better level of service to students. In addition, a network of predetermined invigilators relieves students of the burden of locating their own. However, because of Athabasca University's delivery methods, it is not always possible for University staff to invigilate all examinations.
Currently, examination centres are established at Athabasca, Calgary, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, and at many post-secondary institutions and cooperating agencies throughout the province of Alberta and other locations. Some examination centres may have specific days and/or times when students can write examinations.
Students living within 100 kilometres of an Athabasca University examination centre are required to write their examinations at one of the centres. Please see Section 11 - Examination Invigilation Centres for a list of examination invigilation centres available at the time of printing. You are not required to use the closest centre and may use any other network centre that meets your needs and/or schedule.
Students must contact the centre they wish to use to book a specific time for writing their examinations before submitting their examination request to Athabasca University.
Note: Some centres charge for examination invigilation. Students are responsible for covering all costs related to examination invigilation.
7.2.2. Examination Invigilation Outside Network
If you live more than 100 kilometres from an examination centre, you must provide the name of a volunteer who meets the following guidelines and who is willing to invigilate the examination.
- To eliminate conflict of interest problems, relatives, friends, neighbours, co-workers (including immediate supervisors), persons living at the same address of the student, or other Athabasca University students, cannot invigilate examinations.
- Students who are unable to write their examination at an examination centre should write their examination at an accredited post-secondary institution such as a community college, technical institute, etc. If an accredited post-secondary institution is not within reasonable proximity to the student, he or she is required to write the examination at an educational institution such as a high school.
- Examinations should be written under the supervision of a full-time professor, teacher, or appropriate designate.
- Where none of these options are available, the student should contact Examination Services in the Office of the Registrar, to determine a suitable location.
- Outside Canada, students generally write their examinations at an accredited post-secondary institution or at an office of the Canadian or provincial government.
- Athabasca University does not provide remuneration to examination invigilators. Students are responsible for any expenses incurred for the invigilation of examinations.
- Students should contact an appropriate invigilator to determine their willingness and to choose a mutually acceptable date, time, and place for the examination.
- Athabasca University reserves the right to reject proposed invigilators.
7.2.3. Examination Regulations
Except for supplemental examinations, examinations must be written within the contract period (see 6.2 Course Start Dates). Requests are processed only within these time periods. Students are responsible for ensuring the invigilator is willing to supervise the examination and that a mutually agreed upon time, date, and place has been established before the request is made.
Students are responsible for any expenses incurred for the invigilation of examinations. Athabasca University reserves the right to reject proposed invigilators.
At least fifteen working days must be allowed, from the time a request reaches the Office of the Registrar, for delivery of the examination. It may take several days for Examination Services to receive the request, process it, and send the examination through the mail. Students living within 100 kilometres of an Athabasca University examination centre must write examinations at a centre. Phone the centre of your choice to arrange a suitable time to write the examination before requesting it.
Students are not required to use the centre closest to them, and may use any network centre that meets their needs and/or schedule.
Examinations written at the central offices of Athabasca University in Athabasca during the day will be invigilated by the Office of the Registrar. The hours for examination supervision are from 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Monday through Friday (excluding public holidays). Students must start their examinations no later than 1:15 p.m. if the examination is of three hours duration or 2:15 p.m. if the examination is of two hours duration.
Examinations in paced courses are coordinated by the instructor. Except for students who have obtained professor approval, all students at an instruction site must write the examination at the same place, date, and time.
7.2.4. Requesting an Invigilated Examination
All invigilated exams for home-study courses must be requested through Examination Services, Office of the Registrar or through the appropriate learning centre.
Examinations written at the Edmonton or Calgary learning centres should be requested directly from the appropriate centre.
Exam requests are submitted by:
Written confirmation and approval of your request will be sent to you unless you are writing at one of the learning centres.
7.2.5. Multiple Requests for the Same Examination
When requesting an examination you must notify the Office of the Registrar of the date you wish to write. You have the option to reschedule your examination with your invigilator within the following guidelines; you may write any time prior to your requested write date; you may reschedule your examination within five working days after the requested write date but not past your contract date. Invigilators are required to return unwritten examinations within five working days after the requested write date.
An unwritten examination returned by an invigilator may be re-requested by the student, however, the student is expected to re-request the examination only once.
A fee is charged for an examination that was returned unwritten and re-requested (see 8.3 Fee Summary).
If unforeseen circumstances prevent you from writing your examination on the requested date, please contact Examination Services in the Office of the Registrar immediately to discuss the possibility of altering the requested write date.
7.2.6. Supplemental Examinations
- Home-study Courses
- You may write one supplemental examination for each original examination undertaken. Students may not write a supplemental for tests. The appropriate fee (see 8.3 Fee Summary) must be submitted with each supplemental examination request.
- If the examination is not written, there is no refund. You have three months from the date the original examination was written to make your request and must write the examination within one month of submitting that request.
- A supplemental examination must be requested within three months, but no earlier than two weeks, after writing the original examination, and must be written within one month of the request.
- A supplemental examination may be requested only once, and, if not written, the examination cannot be requested again. Your composite (final) grade is calculated using either the original examination mark or the supplemental examination mark, whichever is higher.
Note: Submitting a request for an examination without the appropriate fees will delay the processing of your request until the fees are received.
- Paced Courses
- Students in a paced course may write a supplemental exam for each original examination written. Supplemental privileges are not generally extended to assignments, quizzes or tests.
- A supplemental examination must be requested within three months, but no earlier than two weeks, after writing the original examination, and must be written within one month of the request. You may be required to write the supplemental examination at a predetermined time as scheduled by the course instructor or professor. Your composite (final) grade is calculated using either the original examination mark or the supplemental examination mark, whichever is higher.
7.2.7. Examination Fees
Some examinations have special fees associated with them (e.g., supplemental or multiple examination requests). Submitting a request for an examination without the appropriate fees will delay the processing of your request until the fees are received. To request an examination requiring fees you may choose any of the following options.
- Mail: submit request with your cheque or money order.
- In person: students in the Edmonton, Calgary or Fort McMurray areas may submit their request and fees at the learning centre in their area.
- Fax: submit your request with VISA“, Mastercard“, or AMERICAN EXPRESS® authorization. INTERAC® service is available at Athabasca University and its three learning centres.
- Phone: (800) 788-9041 (ext. 6386) or (780) 675-6386. Provide VISA®, Mastercard® or AMERICAN EXPRESS® information.
- Internet: you may request an examination at http://www.athabascau.ca/forms/examreq.htm.
You may appeal any mark given to essays, examinations, assignments or exercises that contribute to the final grade. Appeals of both failing and passing
marks will be considered. Students determine the grounds for appeal and must follow the procedures outlined in Section 12 - Student Code of Conduct and Right to Appeal.
7.4. Transcript Requests
Official transcripts are requested by completing and submitting a Transcript Request Form and the required fee (see 8.3 Fee Summary). For reasons of confidentiality, only the student whose transcript is being issued may make the request, and the request must bear the student's signature. No partial transcripts are issued.
The transcript contains a student's entire record including: the date admitted to the University; current program of study; transfer credit awarded in the current program of study; non-credit courses completed at Athabasca University; cumulative average; course names and numbers; number of credits awarded; the final grade (including the actual percentage grade earned by a student for a failed course); the course start date; current status in course (e.g., in progress); courses challenged for credit including unsuccessful challenges; re-registrations; repeated courses; disciplinary probations, suspensions, and expulsions; and graduation honours (where appropriate).
Most institutes and agencies require that official transcripts be sent directly from Athabasca University. Allow a minimum of two weeks for the receipt of a transcript.
Although Athabasca University holds convocation ceremonies in June each year and a December graduation in absentia, students can complete their degree requirements at any time during the year.
Students must apply to graduate.
After verification that the student has fulfilled all the stated program requirements, an official notation is included on transcripts issued before the degree is awarded. When requesting your transcript please indicate if you are eligible to graduate. See 5.7 Graduation and Convocation Advice.
Students enrolled in a university certificate program may also complete their program requirements at any time during the year. University certificates will be awarded as soon as possible following receipt of the final grades. An official notation confirming eligibility to receive the university certificate is included on transcripts issued in the interim. When requesting your transcript please indicate if you are eligible to graduate.
7.5. Letter of Certification
A Letter of Certification is an official confirmation of information that is not available on a transcript; for example, it may include the contract date of a particular course. A Letter of Certification will not be issued to provide information available on the transcript. A Letter of Certification can be requested only by the student concerned. The request must be in writing, must bear the student's signature, and must show what information should be in the Letter of Certification.
7.6. Protection of Privacy
Athabasca University becomes subject to Alberta's Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act on September 1, 1999. The purpose of the Act is to make all public bodies, including universities, more open, accessible and accountable to the public and at the same time protect the privacy of individuals.
Athabasca University collects and maintains personal information for the purposes of admissions, registrations, issuing income tax receipts, scholarships and awards, convocating, sending follow-up educational information and for university research and planning, and other activities directly related to you being a member of the Athabasca University community and its education program, and attending a public post-secondary institution of the Province of Alberta.
If a student is a successful candidate for an award or scholarship, is on the Honours List or graduates, the following personal information may be disclosed for reporting and publicity purposes: student's name, town, province of residence, type and amount of award or program name and year completed, and photograph, if available.
Certain personal information will also be disclosed, by agreement, to Athabasca University's Students Association and Alumni Association for the purposes of membership, fee collection and contacting students; to Statistics Canada, as required by the Statistics Act (Canada); Advanced Education and Career Development to meet reporting requirements and for statistical funding, planning or research purposes; and to an institution involved in offering a collaborative program with Athabasca University if the student is participating in the collaborating program.
Applicants are advised that the information they provide, and any other information placed into the student record, will be protected and used in compliance with Alberta's Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
Athabasca University realizes there are times when a student wants personal information released to a third party; for example, progress reports or final grades to a sponsor, employer, or other third party. To permit this, students must either request an official transcript be sent to the third party or complete a Release of Information Waiver available from the Office of the Registrar or from any Athabasca University learning centre.
Only information relating to a student's academic progress at Athabasca University will be released. Detailed information regarding work at external institutions (other than transfer credit awards that appear on the transcript) will not be released.
7.6.1. Student Contacts Directory Privacy
Athabasca University makes a student's name, city, province, telephone number, and course number (for active registrations) available in a student directory from time to time. You have the option to have this information excluded from the directory if you wish. If you do not want the above information to be included in the Student Contacts Directory, check the ''NO''box on the course registration. You have the right to change this decision at any time by informing the Office of the Registrar in writing. Also, please see 6.15 Student Directory Information.
In the event of a discrepancy between the informal web site version and the printed 1999-2000 Calendar, the latter alone is to be regarded as the authoritative and legally binding source.