TL55 – Examination Papers & Course Assignments

Work submitted by students for evaluation in accordance with course or program requirements and evaluated by the course instructor or delegate.

Related Records | Responsible Unit | Information Steward | Information Confidentiality Classification | Retention | Disposition | Authority | Retention RationaleVersion Information

Content & Scope

Examinations and course work are used to evaluate student performance and competence in a particular course of study.

This records class excludes: qualifying and comprehensive examination answer papers completed by PhD students; and, master's and doctoral theses.

The records include completed final, midterm, and other examinations, tests, or quizzes; essays and research papers; co-op work reports; lab reports; film, video, photographs, drawings, paintings, and other artistic projects; and any other assignments which are retained by the instructor rather than returned to the student.

Related Records

  • For qualifying and comprehensive examination answer papers completed by PhD students, see ST65 – Student Files, Graduate.
  • For master's and doctoral theses see TL62 –  Theses.
  • For tests and course assignments held within the online course environment, see TL38 –  Online Courses.

Responsible Unit

  • Faculties, academic departments and schools.
  • Co-operative & Experiential Education.
  • Safety Office.

Information Steward

Dean of the relevant faculty, or the information steward responsible for the academic support unit offering the course.

Information Confidentiality Classification



1 year after last use (i.e., after the end of the term in which the work was submitted or after the resolution of any grade revision request or appeal)


  • Course work which the instructor attempts to return but remains unclaimed when term grades become official in the student information system may be destroyed earlier than 1 year provided the students have been so advised on the course outline.
  • Student work such as honours essays and research essays submitted as part of course-based master's programs or samples required for program review or accreditation purposes, may be retained for a longer period at the discretion of the individual unit.


Secure Destruction.


Responsible Units should document the disposal/destruction of official records using the University records destruction form or equivalent documentation, to verify that we are following our records retention rules.


  • University of Waterloo Act, 1972.
  • University of Waterloo Undergraduate Studies Academic Calendar: Assignments, Tests, and Final Exams.

Retention Rationale

  • Examination regulations allow students to request an informal review of a final examination up to one year from the date that the examination was written or until the date indicated in the course outline.
  • Regulations to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act require that personal information be retained for a minimum of one year after its use, unless the individual to whom the information relates consents to its earlier disposal (RRO 1990 Reg 460, s 5(1)).

Approval Date

26 July 2010