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Higher Education Examination Policy

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) Charles Darwin University (‘the University’, ‘CDU’) is committed to providing effective and high-quality assessment items as part of the integrity of the issuing of University awards.

(2) The University will use a range of assessment items, including formal examinations, to measure and assure students’ learning outcomes and achievements.

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Section 2 - Purpose

(3) This policy outlines the University’s approach to formal examinations, including those held online or at approved University locations.

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Section 3 - Scope

(4)  This policy applies to all Higher Education students who are enrolled in units that have a formal, end-of-semester  examination as an accredited assessment item. This policy does not apply to mid-semester tests. 

(5) Higher Degree by Research students will be required to sit examinations under the Higher Degree by Research - Preparation, Submission and Examinations Procedure.

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Section 4 - Policy

(6) The University recognises that assessment is an essential part of the teaching and learning process and uses examinations as an assessment item within some units to assess students’ learning outcomes and achievements. 

(7) The University will ensure:

  1. examinations are designed to assess the extent to which a student has achieved the learning outcomes specified within the relevant published unit information.
  2. examination timetables and rules are accessible to all staff and students in advance of the central Examination Period.
  3. academic standards and integrity are upheld through the consistent application of examination rules, policies, and associated processes across all University examinations.

(8) All students have a responsibility to:

  1. familiarise themselves with the examination timetable, including any permitted examination materials, and ensure that there are no timetable clashes.
  2. be available during the central Examination Period and attend their scheduled examinations on the date, time and by the method specified.
  3. apply for a reasonable adjustment, alternate examination sitting or special consideration within the appropriate timeframes where relevant.
  4. comply with all instructions, policies, procedures, and guidance in relation to examinations.

Examination scheduling & administration

(9) Examination timetables will be published on the University Examinations webpage and emailed to students no later than two (2) weeks before the examinations commence.

  1. Timetables will include the time, date, duration of the examination, and the mode by which the exam will be conducted.
  2. Every attempt will be made to schedule examinations between the hours of 8am and 8pm ACST from Monday to Friday. If necessary, exams may be scheduled on a Saturday.

(10) Students are required to make themselves available on all days of the central Examination Period. 

  1. A student will fail the examination if they cannot sit the examination on the day and time the examination is scheduled unless their circumstances support an application for an Alternate Exam Sitting or Special Consideration. 

(11) All correspondence regarding examinations will be via the student email address held on the University student system. It is the responsibility of students to check their University email account.

Examination rules and conditions

(12) Examinations will take place online, unless otherwise specified on the examination timetable.

(13) Students undertaking an online examination should:

  1. download and test the examination software prior to the examination; and 
  2. complete their examination under exam conditions, ensuring that:
    1. their environment is private, free from distractions and interruptions,
    2. there is steady and reliable internet connection,
    3. they have access to a web cam, and
    4. they adhere to the terms and conditions of the invigilation software and examination rules.

(14) Online examinations will be recorded, and the recording may be used to investigate cheating or any other academic misconduct. 

Examination commencement & duration

(15) Students will be required to show identification prior to the commencement of their examination. 

  1. If a student does not have a CDU Student card, a driver’s licence or passport is also acceptable. 

(16) Students must commence their examination no later than the first 30 minutes of an examination session. 

Examination duration 

(17) Examinations will usually be scheduled for either two (2) hours or three (3) hours in duration. 

Permitted examination materials and resources

(18) A student must comply with all instructions provided for the examination, including those given by teaching staff, and with any examination notice displayed for that exam period.

(19) Examinations will be clearly identified as either:

  1. An open book examination - where all written and printed materials, including dictionaries, may be referred to during the examination.
  2. A limited material examination – where only the written or printed materials specified by the Unit Coordinator are permitted.
  3. A closed book examination – where no written or printed materials, including dictionaries, other than those supplied by the Invigilator, are permitted.

(20) A calculator may be permitted in an examination as specified on the examination timetable. 

Examination conduct 

(21) Students must comply with all examination instructions and must not engage in behaviour which can be interpreted as cheating or a breach of academic integrity during an examination.

(22) Where it is suspected that there has been use of unauthorised materials, or cheating, the student/s will be allowed to finish the examination, but the incident will be reviewed and investigated. 

  1. An incident report will be forwarded by the Examination staff to the relevant College Dean for review and subsequent action, with a copy to Student Policy and Complaints.

(23) Potential breaches will be managed under the Student Academic Integrity Policy and the Code of Conduct - Students.

Examination content errors

(24) Any examination content errors discovered after the commencement of the examination session will not result in any examination being reissued. In such cases, Unit Coordinators will adjust the criteria for marking the examination.

Reasonable adjustments to examinations

(25) A student who has specific needs or support requirements can apply for a reasonable adjustment. 

  1. Students who have an approved Access Plan, which refers specifically to examination conditions do not need to apply for Reasonable Adjustment and will have any conditions automatically applied by the Examinations and Timetabling team.

(26) A request for a reasonable adjustment must be submitted at least twenty-one (21) working days prior to the date set for the examination and be supported by relevant evidence such as a medical certificate, external documentation, or statutory declaration. 

Request for an alternate exam sitting

(27) Students who are unable to attend an examination (online or on-campus) at the scheduled time may request an Alternate Exam Sitting in the following circumstances:

  1. medical or compassionate grounds;
  2. work commitments beyond their control; 
  3. religious and cultural obligations;
  4. sporting or cultural commitment; or
  5. volunteer community service activity

(28) Early departure for vacation is not an acceptable reason for a change of venue or an Alternate Exam Sitting.

(29) A request for an alternate exam sitting must be submitted within two (2) weeks of the publication of the examination timetable and be supported by documented evidence.

  1. Students will only be granted one (1) Alternate Exam Sitting for each unit attempted. 

(30) Alternate Exam Sittings will be held over a one (1) week period at the end of each semester in accordance with the University Academic Calendar, unless otherwise approved by the College Dean. 

Special consideration 

(31) Special consideration is an equity measure that may be applied in recognition that a short-term and/or unforeseen circumstances has impacted on a student’s performance in an examination. 

  1. A student who leaves the examination within 30 minutes of commencement due to unforeseen circumstances or the suddent onset of an illness will not be given special consideration, and instead can apply for an Alternate Exam Sitting. 
  2. A student who remains in the examination for more than 30 minutes will have their paper graded and may apply for Special Consideration if one of the following applies:
    1. Illness of short duration (less than 6 weeks); 
    2. Accident or injury;
    3. Disability;
    4. Bereavement; 
    5. Compassionate grounds;
    6. Other unforeseen or extenuating circumstance. 

Applying for special consideration 

(32) Requests for special consideration must be made in writing to the Examinations and Timetabling Team within five (5) calendar days after the scheduled examination.

  1. Applications must be accompanied by relevant supporting evidence (e.g., medical certificate, letter from employer, statutory declaration, copy of an accident report etc). 

(33) The Examinations and Timetabling team will assess the application and may ask the student to clarify information or provide additional evidence to support their application. The application will then be referred to the College Dean or delegate for determination. 

(34) Students will generally receive a written response within five (5) working days of their submission, including details of the basis of any decisions. Approval of a request for special consideration is not guaranteed, and may result in the following determinations:

  1. no change (final grade including examination marks stands);
  2. final grade based only on prior work in the unit (where that work represents more than 50% of the total marks for the unit);
  3. final examination mark is based on performance in prior work in the unit and the marks for the components of the examination the student was able to finish;
  4. alternate examination sitting, where no previous alternate examination sitting has been granted for that unit, or if an examination is the only acceptable method of assessment for that unit, as specified in the relevant Accreditation documentation; or
  5. an alternate assessment task. 

(35) A student who undertakes an alternate assessment task or examination will have their new mark applied, which may be lower than the first mark originally achieved. 

Security of non-electronic examination papers

(36) University staff involved in handling examination papers are responsible for ensuring proper handling and storage so that no unauthorised access to electronic or hard copies occurs. All versions of an examination paper must be held securely at all times.

(37) Only staff with direct involvement in the development, approval and administration of an examination will have access to the examination in both electronic and hard copy formats. Where a breach of security is believed, the unit co-ordinator will provide a new examination prior to the examination commencing.

(38) Staff in breach of these handling and storage directions may be found in breach of Code of Conduct - Staff

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Section 5 - Non-compliance

(39) Non-compliance with Governance Documents is considered a breach of the Code of Conduct - Staff or the Code of Conduct - Students, as applicable, and is treated seriously by the University. Reports of concerns about non-compliance will be managed in accordance with the applicable disciplinary procedures.

(40) All staff members have an individual responsibility to raise any suspicion, allegation or report of fraud or corruption in accordance with the Fraud and Corruption Control Policy and Whistleblower Reporting (Improper Conduct) Procedure.