Published on Rhodes College: Rhodes Handbook (


The Honor Code represents what the students, the faculty, and the administration believe to be the best environment for the pursuit of the College’s educational aims. All tests and examinations are conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Honor Code, and students are asked to indicate on their tests and final examinations that they have abided by the principles contained in the Honor Code. Students “pledge” that they have completed academic work in accordance with these principles, and faculty are expected to ask for this pledge before accepting academic work from students.

Normally every course for which credit is given has a final examination as a component. Final examinations are intended to assess students’ mastery of the subject matter of the course and are normally comprehensive in scope. The Foundations Curriculum Committee expects, in reviewing course proposals prior to approval, that the provisions of the final assessment of student performance are made explicit.

Final examinations are given during the examination week according to the published schedule. A professor may offer optional examination times for an entire class within the examination period, except for a Reading Day. Each member of the class must choose one of the optional times at least one week before the first day of examinations. The feasibility of implementing this option is left to the professor’s discretion.

No examination, including examinations at optional times, may be scheduled on a Reading Day. A student with three examinations in a row (not to include reading days) may petition the Office of Academic Affairs to reschedule no more than two examinations later in the examination period. Other changes because of extenuating circumstances (e.g., illness, religious observance) also must be approved by the professor and the Office of Academic Affairs.

In some courses the purposes of a final examination are best served by special testing, for example take-home examinations, departmentally administered oral examinations, or special projects and assignments. Whatever the testing method, the important factor is that students are asked to synthesize major concepts, approaches, and facts for the course, and to demonstrate that they can do this on their own. If a professor wishes to give an in-class final examination outside the dates and times of the published examination schedule then this request, along with the approval of the chair of the department, must be made in writing to the Office of Academic Affairs.

A student who has a failing average on course work should be counseled before the final examination about the status of his or her work and about the role the final examination will play in determining the final grade, but the student may not be excluded from taking the final examination. A student who has a passing average on course work and who fails the final examination and as a result has a failing average for the course, may at the discretion of the professor be given an E grade and be permitted to take a reexamination. The highest grade in the course that can be given upon reexamination is D+.

A student who has a passing average on course work and who fails the final examination, but who earns a passing final grade, may be given the appropriate letter grade for the course. Unexcused absence from a final examination automatically results in failure in the course. A student who is prevented by illness or other reason from taking the final examination at the scheduled time must present a written excuse or doctor’s certificate and will be given a grade of X. In some courses, due to the lesser weight given to the final examination in determining the final grade for the course, a professor may not wish to give the grade of F for an unexcused absence or the grade of X in the event of an excused absence. The professor’s policy on this matter should be made clear at the beginning of the course so that there is no misunderstanding and so that it is clear that this situation is an exception to the general College policy.

Final examinations should be available for review by students and may be returned to students at the discretion of the professor. Professors should maintain copies of final examination questions for a period of one year, and if a professor keeps copies of the actual examinations they should be maintained for at least one academic year after the administration of the examination.


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