A. Types of Exams and Other Graded Assessments
Instructors have the discretion to administer as assessments exams, papers, or courtroom or other practice-based exercises. An exam may be a scheduled exam, meaning that it is taken on campus or online at a specified time; a self-scheduled exam, meaning that the student may select, from a designated range of times, a time at which to take the exam on campus or online (depending on the course structure); or a take-home exam. A scheduled exam, self-scheduled exam, or take-home exam may be an “in-session” exam, which is an exam administered or due before classes end for the designated session (e.g., fall or spring semester or summer session), or it may be a “final” exam, which is an exam administered or due at or after the end of classes for the designated session. Any exam, whether in-session or final, scheduled, self-scheduled, or take-home, may be closed or open book. No exam is open book unless the instructor of the course specifically designates the exam as such. Students must comply with the software installation policy (see below) when using computers to type their exam answers. Students are responsible for knowing and following specific rules and processes for exam administration for each type of exam they are taking. Prior to final exams, detailed information about the process for self-scheduled final exams will be posted by the Office of Student Services. Students should review this information well in advance of the exam.
No exams may be due or administered during the designated “reading week.” Papers and courtroom or other practice-based exercises are exempt from this timing rule; they may be due or administered at any time during the designated session, during the designated “reading week,” or during the designated final examination period.
B. Use of Exam Software
Exams may be administered electronically on Canvas or using other exam software. Mitchell Hamline School of Law may use software during some exams which prevents accessing unauthorized material during an exam administration. Not every instructor uses exam software for every exam, but if a particular exam requires it, the software must be installed in order for a student to take an exam on their personal laptop computer. For students using exam software, the following conditions must be met:
- Exam software is compatible with Microsoft Windows and Macintosh OS. More information about supported Windows and Mac versions will be provided in the instructions students will receive prior to any exam that requires such software.
- If a student’s computer suddenly becomes unusable prior to the beginning of an on-campus exam, the student may choose to take the exam using one of the library’s computers, or hand write the exam in a blue book.
- If a computer suddenly becomes unusable during an on-campus exam already in progress, the student must use a blue book to finish the exam from the point where the computer stopped working. No technical assistance is available during an on-campus exam. Students taking an exam online using Canvas should follow the specific exam instructions for what to do in the event of a technical issue during an online exam.
Information Technology Services professionals are available in the Library (or by email at ITHelp@mitchellhamline.edu) to assist with installing, using, and troubleshooting problems with exam software. They will also be available during every exam using exam software, and will be notified of make-up final exams by Student Services.
NOTE: Students using a computer to take on-campus exams may only use one device to take their exam. No other electronic devices may be used during on-campus exams. All phones and smartwatches must be turned off and stowed away from students. Additional monitors or laptops are not permitted.
C. Exam Numbers
Students are assigned examination numbers that are used as identification on exams throughout law school. Students may ask the Registrar to change their exam number at any time. Upon showing proper identification, students who forget their examination number during the final examination period may obtain it from the Office of the Registrar. If a student uses the wrong number on an exam, they should notify the Registrar in order to assure proper recording of grades.
D. Exam Variances: Exam Conflicts/Rescheduling and Accommodations
Instructors are responsible for announcing the time and place of all in-session exams. Students take scheduled final exams at the time and place announced on the exam schedule. Students take take-home final exams at the time and place announced on the exam schedule, or at the time and place announced by the instructor. Self-scheduled final exams are scheduled by students according to processes set by the Office of the Registrar. (Detailed information will be made available to students prior to each final exam period.)
Note: No student is permitted to take any exam before the regularly scheduled time for that exam.
- Exam Conflict – request for rescheduling
In-session exams, whether scheduled, self-scheduled, or take-home, may be rescheduled by the instructor whose exam is at issue, or by the Dean of Students when s/he is directed to do so by the instructor whose exam is at issue. The instructor has discretion to determine the details for rescheduled in-session exams unless the instructor has delegated that authority to the Dean of Students. Scheduled and self-scheduled final exams may be rescheduled only by the Dean of Students. Take-home final exams may be rescheduled by the instructor whose exam is at issue, or by the Dean of Students when s/he is directed to do so by the instructor whose exam is at issue. The instructor has discretion to determine the details for rescheduled take-home final exams unless the instructor has delegated that authority to the Dean of Students.The Dean of Students will reschedule exams only under extraordinary circumstances. Students must provide documentation of any extraordinary circumstances. Examples of such circumstances may include:
- The student’s illness or injury, or an illness, injury, or death in the student’s immediate family, which prevents the student from taking an exam.
- The time of an exam conflicts with the student’s religious belief or practice.
- A student has two scheduled final exams that are scheduled to begin within 23 hours of each other (e.g., a 6:00 p.m. scheduled final exam on a Monday followed by a 5:00 p.m. scheduled final exam the next day would be a conflict; however, a 6:00 p.m. scheduled final exam on a Monday followed by a 6:00 p.m. scheduled final exam the next day would NOT be a conflict). Note: This 23-hour rule applies only to scheduled final exams, not to self-scheduled or take-home final exams, and not to any in-session exams.
- A student has three scheduled final exams scheduled within a period of 3 calendar days, in which case a student may reschedule one scheduled final exam. Note: This 3-day rule applies only to scheduled final exams, not to self-scheduled or take-home final exams, and not to any in-session exams.
- Unanticipated event that conflicts with an exam; such event must be one that requires the student to attend (note: this exception is rare; events such as travel/vacation plans, weddings, employment obligations, etc., do not qualify).
Exam rescheduling is coordinated in Student Services, Room 119.
Specific make-up dates for final exam conflicts are scheduled at set times during the final examination period. Students must take rescheduled final examinations on the next available make-up date that does not cause a new conflict in the student’s final exam schedule.
No make-up exam will be rescheduled more than two weeks after the end of the regular final exam period. Students who are unable to complete any exam within this time frame will be withdrawn from the course(s) unless the Dean of Students grants an exception for extraordinary circumstances.
The rules on Deferring Completion of Exams apply when a student fails to take an exam when it is scheduled.
- Disability Accommodations
Students who need to request exam accommodations (including additional time) because of a documented disability must request an accommodation through the Office of Disability Services. Students may be requested to provide specific documentation to support a request for accommodations. Once approved, students must submit an online exam variance form for any quiz or exam for which they intend to use their accommodations. All exam variance forms must be submitted at least five days before the date of the examination. See Disability Services in the Student Services section of this Catalog for general disability accommodation information.
- Exam Variances for English as a Second Language
Students whose native or primary language is not English (“ESL students”) are eligible to receive additional time on timed exams and quizzes during their first two academic semesters of law school, as specified below, if they provide documentation that:
- their prior higher education was in a language other than English, OR
- they received an ESL/ELL variance at their prior higher educational institution(s).
ESL students should request ESL exam variances through the Office of the Dean of Students. Once approved, students can request additional time on exams and quizzes by submitting an online exam variance form and selecting ESL Variance as the reason for the exam variance. All exam variance forms must be submitted at least five days before the date of the examination and require approval from the Dean of Students. Approved students are allowed 20% extra time per timed quiz or exam in their first academic semester, and 10% extra time in their second academic semester. This additional time does not apply to take home exams of 24 hours or longer.
To prepare students for the bar examination, which is administered in English, students are not allowed extra time after their first two academic semesters of law school. Questions or concerns should be directed to the Dean of Students.
E. Deferring Completion of Exams
A student may not defer a final exam without prior permission from the Dean of Students, who will determine the deferred final exam date. If a student fails, without prior permission, to take a final exam when scheduled or rescheduled by the Dean of Students, the student will receive a failing grade (a grade of “F”) for the course, unless the Dean of Students grants an exception for extraordinary circumstances.
Students are responsible for ending their examination on or before the exam end time. Students who fail to end their examinations on time are subject to a presumptive one-gradation penalty (e.g., B to B-) if they exceed the time, even by a few minutes. Individual faculty members may choose to opt out of this policy and impose their own penalty. Students who substantially exceed the examination time may be subject to a more substantial penalty and/or an investigation of whether they have violated the Code of Conduct.
For exams taken on campus, students are permitted five minutes from the end time for the exam to return written exam materials (e.g. bluebooks, multiple-choice answer sheets). Written exam materials returned after the five minutes grace period will be considered late and students will be subject to the same penalties as all students who exceed exam time limits.
G. Retention of Exams and Papers
On-campus exams, take-home exams, and student papers are retained by the instructor or Office of Student Services (Room 119) for one year. Some exam booklets, take-home exams, and students’ papers are available for students to pick up in the Office of Student Services.
Information about grading system (including pass/fail option); class rank and transcripts; and honors and awards is described in Academic Rule 1.05. Grading System, Class Ranks and Transcripts, Honors and Awards.