This Calendar is effective September 1, 2002 - August 31, 2003
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7. Undergraduate Evaluation, Exams, and Academic Records

This version of Section 7 reflects Athabasca University's new Undergraduate Grading System effective Jan. 1, 2003.

Effective January 1, 2003, Athabasca University will be adopting the Alpha/4.0 grading system to report final grades. This is part of a province-wide initiative. Courses with start dates of January 1, 2003 and later will use this new Alpha grading scale. For courses with start dates before January 1, 2003, the percentage grading scale will be used.

For individual courses, the Alpha scale will utilize letter grades ranging from A+ through F to reflect a student's performance and knowledge of the materials covered. Overall academic performance will be reported using the 4.0 grade point average (GPA) scale. A grade point is a value between 0 and 4.00 that is assigned to a grade (alpha or percentage). The grade point average is a weighted average calculated utilizing all of the courses a student has undertaken with Athabasca University that have a grade point value.

Please refer to the Web site for additional information relating to the Undergraduate Grading Policy.

7.1.  Undergraduate Grading Policy

Assignments and examinations are the basic means of evaluating students. Evaluation of assignments and exams is based upon the degree of achievement of pre-defined learning objectives and is expressed in percentages up to December 2002, and in alpha grades from January 1, 2003 and onward. The final grade for a course is normally determined by a weighted average of the marks for all assignments and exams. The passing grade in undergraduate courses undertaken before December 31, 2002 is 50 percent, unless otherwise stipulated in the course outline. For courses started January 1, 2003 and later, unless otherwise stipulated in the course outline, a passing grade will be equivalent to a "D." Course assignments must be submitted and examinations must be written on or before the course contract end date.

Graduate programs use different grading scales that are described in each graduate program.

Grade Point Average (Replaces cumulative average)

A grade point average is calculated for all Athabasca University undergraduate transcripts. All courses listed on a student's transcript that have a numeric or, after January 1, 2003, alpha grade assigned are included in the cumulative grade point average calculation. For each course taken, the transcript will display the course grade (percentage or alpha) as well as its corresponding four-point grade value.

All failing grades, excluding grades of "WF (Withdrawal Failure)," (see Section 6.6. Course Withdrawals) will be calculated into the cumulative average. Failures are shown on the transcript as a grade of "F." For courses undertaken before December 31, 2002, the actual percentage grade earned by a student for a failed course is also shown on the transcript. Before September 1989, the passing grade was 60 percent unless otherwise stipulated.

Notification of Grades

Marks for mid-term exams are generally administered within the various academic units and by tutors. Students may contact the appropriate academic centre or their tutors with questions regarding mid-term marks.

The Office of the Registrar provides statements of the composite grade achieved in courses (final grade) and the credits earned for each course completed. Course composite (final) grades cannot be computed until all course requirements (e.g., labs, assignments, essays, tests, quizzes, and exams) have been completed and marked.

Marks and grades released over the telephone have no official standing. Students must positively identify themselves to designated staff in the Office of the Registrar, Learning Centres, or the Academic Centres before staff can release unofficial marks or grades to students over the telephone.

Requests to Rush Final Grades

Athabasca University makes every effort to expedite the marking of exams, particularly when students wish to transfer courses to other institutions. It does not, however, have the resources to meet unrealistic time expectations. It is recommended that exams be written and assignments submitted four to six weeks before the date the final grade is required to allow time for marking and mailing of results.

Course Work

Tutor support is discontinued on the course contract date. Students must submit their course work on or before the course contract date. For courses undertaken before December 31, 2002, students who have not requested a course extension or a withdrawal, or who have not completed their course by the course contract date, will be awarded an "0 (Zero) F (Failure)." For courses started on January 1, 2003 or later, students who have not requested a course extension or a withdrawal, or who have not completed their course by the course contract date, will be awarded a grade of "F" (Failure).

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 mark of zero on such components may result in a failing grade being assigned to the course. Students are strongly advised to read the course syllabus carefully.

Some courses, especially those with lab components, are offered only at specific times of the year and are exempt from this policy. For more information, contact the Academic Centre that offers the course.

7.2. Exams

Whenever possible, an Athabasca University representative invigilates exams. The University's exam centres are located in Edmonton, Calgary, and Athabasca Central Learning Centres, and at many post-secondary institutions and cooperating agencies across Canada (referred to as the Exam Invigilation Network).

Students who live within 100 km of an exam centre must write their exam at one of the centres. Students are not required to use the centre closest to them. Students who live more than 100 km from an exam centre may write their exam closer to home provided they arrange for a volunteer who meets the invigilator guidelines, and who is willing to invigilate their exam.

International Students

International students and Canadian students living overseas, write their exams at an approved post-secondary institution or a Canadian Embassy.


Whenever possible, Athabasca University representatives invigilate exams. However, when students live more than 100 km from an exam centre they may arrange for a volunteer (invigilator). An invigilator is an individual authorized by Athabasca University to oversee the writing of an exam by an Athabasca University student. This person must meet specific guidelines (below) and be willing to invigilate the student's exam. Athabasca University reserves the right to reject proposed invigilators. Contact Examination Services, Office of the Registrar if you require assistance.

Invigilator Guidelines

  1. 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 exams.

  2. Students must write their exams at an accredited, post-secondary institution such as a community college or a technical institute. If a college or technical institute is not accessible, students may write at an educational institution such as a high school.

  3. Exams should be written under the supervision of a full-time professor, teacher, or an appropriate designate.

  4. Where none of these options are available, students should contact Examination Services in the Office of the Registrar. A staff member will help you determine a suitable location and acceptable invigilator.

Exam Invigilation Fees
Most invigilators request a fee to invigilate student exams. Students are responsible for all expenses incurred for this service. Students may be required to pay invigilation fees to the institution that is invigilating their exams. Athabasca University does not charge a fee to invigilate exams at one of its three Learning Centre locations; however, some universities, colleges, and other institutions do charge an "external student" fee to supervise exams.

Requesting an Exam

All invigilated exams for individualized-study courses are requested through Examination Services, Office of the Registrar. Students who are writing at one of the Learning Centres may contact the appropriate centre. Students must request their exam a minimum of 15 business days before the date on which they wish to write. Before students submit their Exam Request Form (also found in the Forms Package of their course materials) to Athabasca University, they must contact the centre or their invigilator, and reserve a day and time to write their exam. Students do not require permission to write an exam. It is recommended, however, that they discuss their preparedness to write an exam with their tutor or learning facilitator.

Students may request an exam using one of the following methods.

  • Online: online form
  • Fax: (780) 675-6174
  • Mail: refer to learning centre maps for addresses.
  • The phone-in request system: (800) 788-9041 (ext. 6386) or (780) 675-6386. This number operates 24 hours a day (except Christmas Eve to New Year's Day inclusive).

    Exam Fees

    Supplemental exams and multiple requests for the same exam require a fee. Submitting a request without the appropriate fee will result in delays.

    Exam Regulations

    Individualized-study Courses

    To order an exam, complete and submit the online Examination Request Form. An Examination Request Form is also in the Forms Package of your course materials. Before submitting this form, students should discuss their readiness to take the exam with their tutor or learning facilitator. Next, students locate and provide the name of an appropriate invigilator who is willing to supervise their exam at a mutually agreed upon time, date, and place. If students are writing at an exam centre, they arrange a suitable time to write their exam before they request it.

    Once students have submitted their Examination Request Form, it takes a minimum of 15 business days from the time the request reaches the Office of the Registrar, to receive the exam. The exam will be forwarded directly to the exam centre. Students may write any time before their requested write date.

    Exams written at Athabasca University Central are invigilated by the Office of the Registrar at 9 a.m. or 1 p.m. Monday through Friday (excluding public holidays).

    Grouped-study Courses

    Unless a student has obtained professor approval, all students write the exam coordinated by the grouped-study course instructor at the same place, date, and time.

    Unwritten Exams

    Occasionally, circumstances arise that prevent a student from writing the exam on the scheduled write date. If this happens, the student can reschedule the exam write date. Rescheduling must take place within five business days after the originally requested write date and not past the course contract date. Invigilators are required to return unwritten exams within five working days after the requested write date. Students who wish to reschedule their exam write date must submit a new Examination Request Form and the multiple exam fee.

    Supplemental Exams

    Students are allowed one supplemental exam for each written exam and it must be written within one month of its request. Supplemental exams must be requested no earlier than two weeks and no later than three months after writing the original exam. After writing a supplemental exam, the student's final grade will be the higher of the grades received on the supplemental or original exam. Supplemental exams do not apply to assignments, quizzes, or tests. If the supplemental exam is not written, it cannot be requested again and there is no refund.

    7.3. Online Exams

    Some School of Business course exams are completed and submitted online. In general, the same exam regulations and invigilation procedures used for written exams apply to online exams.

    When contacting an Invigilation Centre to schedule an exam, students must ensure the Invigilation Centre has computers available that meet the minimum system requirements for their course. Students taking e-Class courses are required to take online exams according to a predetermined schedule.

    Students who are scheduling online exams are required to:

    1. make an exam appointment at a local Invigilation Centre
    2. complete and submit the Exam Request Form to Examination Services in advance, by fax, mail, or phone

    The online course syllabus will explain the exam process in greater detail. Any questions about online exams may be directed to the course tutor or instructor.

    7.4. Appeals

    Students may appeal any mark given to essays, exams, assignments, or exercises that contribute to their 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.

    7.5. Transcript Requests

    To request an official transcript, students submit a Transcript Request Form and fee. 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

    • current program of study
    • total transfer credit awarded in the current program of study
    • non-credit courses completed at Athabasca University
    • grade point average
    • course names and numbers
    • number of credits awarded
    • the final grade and corresponding 4-point grade value
    • the grade points and credit hours earned with each registration
    • the term date (year, month course started)
    • current status in course (e.g., in progress)
    • courses challenged for credit including unsuccessful challenges (noted with "CH")
    • reregistrations (noted with "R")
    • repeated courses
    • disciplinary probations, suspensions, and expulsions
    • graduation honours (where appropriate).

    Once Athabasca University receives the marks, allow a minimum of two weeks or more for the receipt of a transcript. Most institutes and agencies require that official transcripts be sent directly from Athabasca University.

    Athabasca University holds convocation ceremonies in June of each year or December, in absentia. Students may complete their degree, diploma, or certificate requirements any time throughout the year.

    After the Office of the Registrar verifies that students have fulfilled all the degree, diploma, or certificate program requirements, an official notation is placed on the transcript issued before the degree or certificate is awarded. Students requesting transcripts must indicate their eligibility to graduate (see 5.7. Graduation and Convocation Advice).

    7.6. Letter of Certification

    A Letter of Certification is an official confirmation of information that is not written on a transcript, for example, a course contract date. A Letter of Certification can be requested only by the student concerned, must be in writing, bear the student's signature, and must confirm the information to be included.

    7.7. Student ID Cards

    Students registering in an Athabasca University course are entitled to receive a Student Identification Card that confirms the name, identification number, and the academic year in which the card was produced. Students are issued one card and can update the card in subsequent years by requesting a date sticker from the Office of the Registrar or the Learning Centres.

    ** This page is an official publication of Athabasca University **
    To previous version of Section 7 archived Dec. 31, 2002. EC.

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