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Exams

Most final examinations in the College of Law are graded anonymously. Students are given and are required to use randomly assigned exam numbers for each blind-graded exam. Instructors assign exam grades to the respective exam numbers and report the anonymous exam grades to the Office of Budget and Records. Some final course grades may be based on factors in addition to, or instead of, anonymously graded final exams. For example, course grades may take into account factors such as attendance, class participation, written papers or other assignments. In some courses, such as seminars, grades may be based entirely on written papers. If a course has a final examination and other factors are also included in determination of the course grade, the instructor may, after turning in blind-graded exam grades to the Office of Budget and Records, receive a list of names and matching exam numbers to permit inclusion of the other factors. In determining a final course grade, instructors may not alter the exam grade by more than one step (e.g., C+ to B-) without approval of the associate dean. Student Handbook §5.6.

To ensure consistency and fairness, all final examinations are generally administered by a member of the College of Law staff, under the direction of the deans. Midterm examinations may be administered by a member of the staff or by the instructor. Students will be given instructions at the beginning of each in-class examination and are also responsible for reading carefully the general instructions of the instructor at the beginning of each examination, whether in-class or take-home. The number of hours for each final examination is normally equivalent to the number of credit hours for the course, but faculty members have the discretion to determine the number of hours allowed for their exams and may require a shorter or longer exam time. The length of midterm examinations varies and is determined by the course instructor. At the conclusion of each in-class final examination, answers and all exam materials will be collected at a table located outside the exam room or in the faculty support office (room 190). Students will receive instructions for collection of midterm and take-home exams from the instructor or other administrator. Student Handbook §5.1.

Law students are permitted to take any essay portion of any final examination on their own laptops using ExamSoft software. Prior to exams each semester, all students enrolled in courses with exams for which laptops may be used will receive an email inviting them to register with ExamSoft. Each student is responsible for registering with ExamSoft by the deadline established by the Associate Dean. The College of Law is not responsible for laptop malfunctions or ExamSoft system failures, and all students should be prepared to write exam answers by hand in the event of any such malfunction or system failure.

The final examination schedule will normally last over two weeks. The schedule will be posted no later than the beginning of each semester, but may be updated from time to time. Students are expected to take final exams during scheduled times. Consequently, students should not schedule other activities during this period. The dates of mid-term examinations are normally set by the instructor. A student who fails to take an examination when scheduled or rescheduled (see below), and who has not received approval for missing the exam on that date, will receive a failing grade (“F”). Student Handbook §5.1.

Midterm or final exams may only be rescheduled under the following circumstances:

  1. if there is a scheduling conflict in which two exams are scheduled on the same day or at least one exam is scheduled on three consecutive calendar days; or
  2. if there are extraordinary circumstances that are beyond the student’s control and will not recur.

All students requesting approval to reschedule an exam will be required to sign and submit a Student Petition to Change a Scheduled Exam with the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. Students requesting rescheduling based on a scheduling conflict must submit their petition on or before the announced deadline and should attach a copy of their entire midterm or final exam schedule to the petition. Notification of any extraordinary circumstances must be given to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and the College of Law registrar as soon as possible, followed by a formal written petition for a deferred or rescheduled examination. Supporting documentation is required for all petitions to reschedule based on extraordinary circumstances.

Administrative arrangements for taking an approved rescheduled examination must be made by the student with one of the deans in conjunction with the faculty support office. A rescheduled examination must ordinarily be taken before the close of the relevant exam period and will generally take place after the announced examination date for the course unless the course instructor agrees to an earlier examination date. A fee may be charged for any examination required to be rescheduled after the exam period ends. Student Handbook §5.4.

Students who would like reasonable accommodations in consideration of a disability should contact the NIU Disability Resource Center (DRC) for an appointment to discuss what accommodations may be appropriate and provide requested verification. Students are encouraged to obtain and submit DRC letters of accommodation to the associate dean for Student Affairs as early as possible during the semester and, in any event, must do so in time for appropriate steps to be taken to implement the accommodations. For exam accommodations approved by the DRC, students should complete individual exam accommodation forms for each exam to be taken and deliver them to the faculty support office in room 190. To help preserve anonymous grading, students with exam accommodations should not take accommodation letters or forms to individual faculty members or discuss exam accommodations with them. Examination accommodations will not be made by the College of Law without a letter of accommodation evidencing the approval of the DRC. Student Handbook §5.5.

College of Law examinations are conducted on a partial honor system. The College of Law Examination Rules and Guidelines will be distributed in advance of the exam period and will be posted at each examination. All students are responsible for reading and complying with those rules, and failure to comply with the examination rules will constitute academic misconduct.

Students found to have violated the examination rules or the Rule of Professional Conduct will be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with the College of Law Procedures Relating to Academic or Other Professional Misconduct by a Student. Student Handbook §5.2.

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