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The Undergraduate Calendar

Academic Regulations Related to Assignments, Tests, and Final Exams


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From time to time, students will encounter extenuating circumstances such as significant illnesses, ongoing medical conditions, or religious observations that prevent them from meeting academic obligations. The University is committed to assisting students who experience these events.

Students who are unable to meet assignment due dates or write a test must provide documentation verifying the events that have precluded them from meeting their academic deadlines. When illness is the cause of a missed deadline, students should seek medical treatment and provide confirmation of the illness to the instructor(s) within 48 hours by submitting a completed University of Waterloo Verification of Illness Form to support requests for accommodation due to illness. Students in Centre for Extended Learning (CEL) courses must submit their confirmation of the illness to CEL.

The University of Waterloo Verification of Illness Form is normally the only acceptable medical documentation. Students who consult their physician or use the services of an off-campus walk-in clinic must provide this form to the attending physician for completion; notes and forms created by the physician or clinic are normally not acceptable. Although not compelled to do so, instructors may accept medical documentation that contains the same information specified on the University of Waterloo Verification of Illness Form. Health Services charges a fee for completing the University of Waterloo Verification of Illness Form that is not covered by OHIP/UHIP. Fees for this service or those levied by off-campus practitioners are the student's responsibility.

False claims of illness and/or the submission of false supporting documentation of extenuating circumstances constitute an academic offence that will result in disciplinary action under Policy 71.

Adjustment of due dates or deferrals of term tests or final examinations are not automatic upon the presentation of suitable medical verification. Instructors will use this documentation among all information available to them when determining whether accommodation is warranted.

When instructors elect to provide an accommodation, the options available to students vary based on the nature of the extenuating circumstances they are facing, and on the kind of evaluation mechanism they are unable to complete on time.

For in-term assignments, instructors may use their discretion and allow an extension. If the instructor does not grant an extension and an element is missed, it is recommended that the weight of the missed element – an assignment, a laboratory report, or other evaluation mechanism – be transferred to similar types of elements due later in the term. If this option is not available, the weight of the missed assignment may be transferred to a test or the final examination.

If students are granted an accommodation for a test, the weighting of the missed test is added to the final examination weighting or spread over the remaining tests. Term tests are normally not deferred.

If students are granted an accommodation to postpone a final examination, they shall write the exam the next time the course is taught or during the next term the student is on campus, whichever is sooner. The examination may be written earlier than the specified period if students and their instructors mutually agree upon a date and time or if a final grade is required for continued enrolment. The Undergraduate Officer from the offering academic unit should be informed as to the dates and times when deferred final examinations are to be written. If the course instructor of the deferred examination is not available to set and mark the examination as well as grade the course overall, the department/school will arrange for these activities to be carried out.

Elective arrangements (such as travel plans) are not considered acceptable grounds for granting an accommodation.

The University acknowledges that, due to the pluralistic nature of the University community, some students may seek accommodations on religious grounds. Accordingly, students must consult with their instructor(s) within one week of the announcement of the due date for which accommodation is being sought. Failure to provide a timely request will decrease the likelihood of providing an accommodation.

Any unresolved disputes between instructors and students regarding the legitimacy of extenuating circumstances or the suitability of accommodations will be decided by the appropriate Associate Dean(s). When in doubt, students should approach the Associate Dean from their home Faculty. In such cases, any regularly scheduled University academic activity will be given precedence in the resolution of a conflict with a test or examination in another course. For students in courses taught at the Affiliated and Federated Institutions of Waterloo where there is no Associate Dean, the Dean exercises these responsibilities.


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