Exam and Assessment Resources

Recommendations for exams and assessments

Determine the time needed for completion

Test your assessments to determine the time needed to complete them. As a rule of thumb, students need at least twice the time it takes a course TA to complete an assessment and at least three times your time.

For online exams and assessments, add 10 to 15 minutes as a buffer for technical glitches is appropriate for any exam tool. Uploading scanned documents (such as a handwritten math test that needs to be converted to PDF) may take an additional 20+ minutes. Also consider variation in student reading speeds.

Provide clear instructions and do a dry run

Your students will benefit from feeling prepared, with instructions on how to use the assessment tool, and a dry run before the test/exam. When assessing student work online, this can be especially important.

Have a plan for technical issues

Give your students clear and easy-to-access instructions for what to do in the event of technical issues during an assessment and their recourse if issues prevent completion or compromise their writing of the assessment. You should outline the steps to take, such as emailing you, a TA, CEL, LEARN Help, or other and what information to include such as an explanation of the issue, time of the issue, the actions they took, what was completed and not, etc.

Plan for missed assessments

Identify a process for when students miss an assessment due to technical issues or other extenuating circumstances, and develop at least one alternative assessment when creating your tests/exams so you are ready to provide a make-up opportunity.  If you included a grade re-weighting scheme in your course outline, this strategy provides an alternative approach.  You can review the University's policies on missed assignments and tests on the Undergraduate Studies Calendar.

Address accommodations

If a student is registered with AccessAbility Services (AAS) and requires accommodations, please work with AAS as early as possible.

When to hold the exam

If possible schedule the exam to include a wide window during regular University hours so that a range of specialized support staff is available.

Privacy Guidelines

Visit the Privacy Office website for specific guidance on managing privacy while teaching remotely using online technology.

Online Exam and Assessment Tools

Please check the Assessing Student Work tab in the Tools and Technology table for tools that are supported by Waterloo.

Help for students

If your students need technical help with assessments, exams or software, please direct them to the assessment and exam resource hub on the Student IT Services website.