Examination Policy and Procedures - Students

1. Purpose and rationale
2. Scope and definitions
3. Timing of examinations
4. Student availability for examinations
5. Location of examinations
6. Examination adjustments for students with disabilities, medical conditions
7. Examination room procedures
8. Illness during examination
9. Interruption to examinations
10. Breach of procedures
11. Materials left outside examination room
12. Deferred examinations
13. Supplementary assessment
Appendix A - Related documents


1. Purpose and rationale

The purpose of this Policy and Procedures is to maintain coordinated, consistent examination practices across Australian Catholic University.  Academic staff members of the University are responsible for setting appropriate assessment that will foster learning and a significant amount of assessment is conducted through formal examinations.  Units may have a combination of School-based and centrally-organised examination assessment.  Assessment information should be incorporated in unit outlines.  For information relating to general principles of and responsibility for assessment, refer to the Assessment Policy and Assessment Procedures.

[Back to Top]

2. Scope and definitions

This Policy and Procedures apply to all central and School-based examinations at Australian Catholic University.  The definitions in the Academic Regulations apply in this Policy.

[Back to Top]

3. Timing of examinations

3.1 Standard study periods

An official three-week central examination period will be held at the end of the first and second semesters

3.2 Non-standard study period examinations

Examinations for units offered in non-standard study periods will be arranged and conducted by the relevant School.

3.3 Deferred examination periods

The deferred central examination period will be scheduled not fewer than three weeks after the end of the central examination periods in the first and second semesters.

3.4 Examination sessions

Examinations may be held within the period 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday (including on public holidays) and 8am to 5pm Saturdays, throughout the examination periods.

[Back to Top]

4. Student availability for examinations

Students are required to be available to undertake examinations throughout the periods designated for central examinations as outlined in the academic calendar.  Students are also required to be available at times specified in unit outlines for School-based examinations.

[Back to Top]

5. Location of examinations

5.1 Subject to Sections 5.2 and 5.3 students will sit examinations at the campus at which they attend classes for the unit being examined.

5.2 Distance, online and off-campus units

Students enrolled in a unit offered in distance or online mode or at a location other than an ACU campus will sit examinations at the established examination centre closest to their semester address.  For students studying in online mode, examinations may also be conducted online.  Students will be notified of the location of the examination venue in writing by the relevant School for distance, off-campus and relevant online units or by the Learning and Teaching Centre for online units with examinations conducted online.

5.3 Variation of examination venue

5.3.1 A student who seeks to sit an examination at a venue other than that which would normally apply must make written application to the Academic Registrar at least six weeks before the commencement of the examination period.  If special arrangements are required to enable a student to sit the examination at an alternative venue, the student may be required to pay a prescribed fee.

5.3.2 In exceptional cases, where students who are remote from the University on practical experience are required to undertake an examination during the practical experience (eg isolated locations, interstate or overseas), provision may, with the approval of the Head of School on the recommendation of the Course Coordinator, be made by the School for students to undertake a School-based examination in situ, with appropriate supervision arranged locally.  To enable this to occur, the student must make written application for an in situ examination to the Head of School at least six weeks prior to the commencement of the examination period (refer also to Section 5.2).

[Back to Top]

6. Examination adjustments for students with disabilities, medical conditions

6.1 Permanent disability and/or chronic medical condition

Adjustments to the examination conditions for students with a permanent disability and/or chronic medical condition will be incorporated in Education Inclusion Plans developed by the Equity and Disability Unit.

6.2 Unexpected temporary disability or medical condition

If a student has an unexpected temporary disability or medical condition, he/she may apply for adjustments to examination arrangements by completing the required special adjustment form.  This form must be submitted (electronically or in hard copy) to a Disability Adviser who may identify and approve any adjustments to the examination arrangements.  Where the University cannot implement the requested provisions, due to time limitations, the student may be required to sit the examination during the deferred examination period.

6.3 Notification of examination adjustment requirements

6.3.1 Students with a disability and/or medical condition should consult a Disability Adviser to register for examination adjustments as early as possible and preferably at the time of enrolment.

6.3.2 The Equity and Disability Unit will provide Student Administration with a provisional list examination adjustment requirements by the end of lecture week 7 and a final list of all examination adjustment requirements by the end of lecture week 9.

6.3.3 Where examination adjustments are not advised to Student Administration by the above date, the following action may be taken:

  1. The student may be required to sit their examination/s during the deferred examination period; or
  2. The Equity and Disability Unit may liaise with the relevant School/s regarding the provision of a School-based examination/s outside the central examination period; or
  3. The Equity and Disability Unit may liaise with the School/s regarding alternative assessment/s in lieu of an examination/s.

6.4 Notification of examination adjustment requirements

The student will be advised of the decision on any application for an examination adjustment, with advice of such approval also being provided to the relevant School.

[Back to Top]

7. Examination room procedures

7.1 Powers of supervisors

Supervisors will have responsibility for the conduct of examinations.  A supervisor has and may exercise such powers as are reasonably necessary to ensure the proper and efficient conduct of the examination.  A supervisor need not enter into debate with a candidate for any direction given to the candidate.

A supervisor may require any person present in the examination room to:

  1. provide an ACU Card or other evidence to confirm their identity and eligibility to be in the examination room;
  2. show that the person does not have in their possession any unauthorised material as specified in the Academic Honesty Policy;
  3. answer any question relating to that person's behaviour while in the examination room;
  4. leave an examination room if a supervisor considers that a candidate's behaviour, dress or appearance is such as to disturb or distract any other candidate;
  5. surrender any material, which the supervisor considers to be unauthorised; and/or
  6. comply with any direction the supervisor deems necessary to ensure the proper and efficient conduct of the examination.

7.2 Entry to examination room

A person other than a supervisor or other authorised person1 may not, except with the permission of a supervisor, enter or remain in an examination room during an examination or during the period of 45 minutes immediately preceding or immediately following an examination session.

A candidate, on entering an examination room, must proceed without delay to the place to which the candidate is directed by a supervisor or by notice or other means and will not leave that place except with the permission or by the direction of a supervisor.

A person, whether a candidate or not, who is permitted to enter or leave an examination room must comply with all conditions on which such permission is given.

7.3 Conduct of candidates

A candidate must comply with the Academic Regulations, the Academic Honesty Policy and Statute 10 Student Conduct and Discipline.

7.4 Starting time

Times listed on the timetable are the times when students are allowed to commence reading or, if there is no provision for reading time, commence the examination.

7.5 Reading time

7.5.1 The reading time available to candidates prior to the commencement of writing the examination will be either ten minutes or nil.  Candidates must not commence writing until the supervisor has given permission.

7.5.2 During reading time, candidates may make notes on the examination question paper. Candidates must not commence writing in examination scripts until the supervisor has given permission at the end of the allocated reading time.

7.6 Late arrival

Candidates who arrive within the first 30 minutes after examination start time will be permitted to undertake the examination but will not be allowed additional time.  Candidates who arrive more than 30 minutes after the examination start time will not be permitted to undertake the examination.

7.7 Identification

Candidates will produce their ACU Card on demand at each examination.  It must be displayed prominently on the desk during the examination.  If the student does not have an ACU Card in their possession, they will be escorted to the Student Centre immediately following the examination to obtain a replacement ACU Card.

7.8 Attendance form

Candidates will complete an attendance form at every examination and will adhere to the instructions for collection of the form as provided by the supervisor.

7.9 Early departure from examination rooms

Except in the circumstance provided for in Section 8, a candidate must not leave the examination room until 30 minutes after the commencement of writing time or during the final 10 minutes of an examination.

Candidates who wish to leave the examination room prior to the scheduled finish time (and within the times specified above) will adhere to instructions provided by the supervisor.

7.10 Conclusion of examination

At the conclusion of the examination all candidates must remain seated until their papers are collected by a supervisor or until the supervisor has given them permission to leave the examination room.

7.11 Where nominated materials may be taken into an examination room

Where specified books or other materials (restricted open book examinations) are permitted to be taken into an examination, such materials will be limited to those specifically nominated by the Lecturer in Charge and such materials will be listed on the examination paper cover sheet.  The supervisor or other authorised person will inspect any such materials to ensure that they comply with the approval and do not contain any unauthorised materials.

Where an examination is designated 'open book', the relevant text book and allowable materials may be taken into an examination.

7.12 Use of dictionaries in examinations

English language dictionaries are not acceptable in an examination room.

A student may take an English/foreign language dictionary2 (bilingual dictionary) (direct word to word translation only and in printed, not electronic, format) into an examination in any unit. The dictionary must not contain any notations or any additional material and must be presented to the supervisor for inspection.  Students will be refused permission to use dictionaries that contain notations or additional materials.

7.13 Use of personal electronic devices in examinations

Personal electronic devices may not be brought into or used in an examination room except with the prior approval of the Lecturer in Charge.  Such approval must clearly identify the category of electronic device allowed in the specific examination.  Electronic devices which can be approved are restricted to those which are hand-held, internally powered, silent and not capable of wireless communication with other electronic devices.

Calculators and other electronic devices approved for use in an examination must have any programmable memory cleared prior to being brought into the examination room.  Non-programmable calculators, where allowed, must have volatile memory only and must not have alpha facilities.

Any approved electronic device brought into an examination room will be inspected by the supervisor and/or authorised staff member.

A candidate using an authorised electronic device in an examination is responsible for its operation.  Any failure or malfunction of the device will not constitute grounds for a deferred examination or other special arrangements.

7.14 Mobile telephones

Mobile telephones are not permitted in any examination room. Examination Supervisors will confiscate mobile telephones detected in an examination room.

[Back to Top]

8. Illness during examination

8.1 If a candidate becomes ill during an examination and temporarily leaves the examination venue, but remains under supervision, no extra time will be allowed for the student to complete the examination3.

8.2 If the candidate cannot continue with the examination, the supervisor will note this and report the matter to Student Administration.

8.3 If the candidate decides to continue the examination, the Examination Supervisor may make a decision to move the student to an alternative location, if there is disruption to other students. The time required for the move will be added to the student’s allocated examination time.

8.4 The Academic Registrar or nominee will determine, in consultation with the Head of School, whether the student is to be given a deferred examination, subject to provision of relevant supporting documentation4.

[Back to Top]

9. Interruption to examinations

9.1 Where an examination is impacted by an unexpected interruption (for example, a power failure, computer/software malfunction, earthquake, bomb threat, fire alarm etc) the supervisor will implement appropriate action.

9.2 Minor disruptions to an examination (for a period of 15 minutes or less) will be accommodated by the provision of an equivalent period of additional time added to the end of the allocated examination time.

9.3 The Academic Registrar or nominee will determine the appropriate course of action in the event of a significant disruption to an examination.  A significant disruption may include repeated minor disruptions in the same examination session.

9.4 In the event of an evacuation of an examination venue, the Executive Dean or nominee will determine which of the following outcomes will apply:

  1. the examination may be declared void and a new examination scheduled for a date and time within the current examination period, including on a Saturday;
  2. students' examination scripts may be marked and an adjusted examination result determined;
  3. an alternative assessment item may be set with a suitable due date for submission;
  4. as well as the outcome in paragraph (b), an additional assessment item may be set with a suitable due date for submission.

[Back to Top]

10. Breach of procedures

10.1 Expulsion from examination room

A supervisor may immediately expel from the examination room any candidate who commits an infringement of this Policy and Procedures.

10.2 Report and investigation

A supervisor will report any breach of this Policy to Student Administration, which will refer it to the Head of School responsible for the course unit.  Any such allegation will be investigated and resolved in accordance with the Academic Honesty Policy or Statute 10 Student Conduct and Discipline.

[Back to Top]

11. Materials left outside examination room

The University accepts no responsibility for the security of any materials left outside an examination room.

[Back to Top]

12. Deferred examinations

12.1 Application for central deferred examination

A candidate who, through illness or other exceptional cause beyond the candidate's control, is unable to attend an examination is required to lodge with Student Administration, not later than five working days after the day of the examination, an Application for Deferred Examination form with Professional Authority (see Section 12.3).

12.2 Application for School-based deferred examination

A candidate who, through illness or other exceptional cause beyond the candidate's control, is unable to attend an examination is required to lodge with the Lecturer in Charge, not later than five working days after the day of the examination, an Application for Special Consideration form with Professional Authority.

12.3 Evidence in support of application for deferred examination

Any application for a deferred examination must be supported by original appropriate documentary evidence (Professional Authority).  The authenticity of documentary evidence may be confirmed with the named provider.

12.4 Determination of application for a deferred central examination

The Academic Registrar or nominee will determine the outcome of an application for a deferred central examination.  Student Administration will notify a student of the outcome of their deferred examination application in writing not less than one week prior to the commencement of the deferred examination period.  Where the application is approved, the details of the examination day, date, time and location will be published on the Students' Personal Examination Timetable.  In cases where an application is submitted prior to the examination and the application is refused, every effort will be made to contact the student prior to the scheduled examination.

12.5 Determination of application for a School-based deferred examination

The Lecturer in Charge will determine the outcome of an application for a School-based deferred examination.  The School will notify the student of the outcome of their deferred examination application in writing not less than one week prior to the examination date determined by the Lecturer in Charge.  Where the application is approved, the written notification will include the details of the examination day, date, time and location.  In cases where an application is submitted prior to the examination and the application is refused, every effort will be made to contact the student prior to the scheduled examination.

12.6 Failure to attend deferred examination

A student who, through illness or other exceptional cause beyond the candidate's control, fails to attend a deferred examination may apply for alternative assessment.  The application should normally be lodged directly with the Course Coordinator no more than five working days after the day of the original deferred examination.  Approval will only be granted in exceptional cases and should not be assumed to be automatic.

12.7 Limit on number of deferrals

An examination or alternative assessment may be deferred no more than twice (after the original scheduled examination).  If the student is again unable to undertake the examination or assessment, further deferral will not be granted and the Course Coordinator will be required to provide a final result for the unit.  If the student is able to provide evidence of continuing exceptional circumstances, the Course Coordinator, after consultation with the student, may recommend to the Head of School that:

  1. the student's enrolment in the relevant unit be cancelled without academic penalty (but with financial liability); or
  2. other assessment accommodation(s) be made, having regard to the circumstances of the case.

[Back to Top]

13. Supplementary assessment

Supplementary assessment will be managed by the School.

[Back to Top]

Appendix A - Related documents

[Back to Top]


1 An authorised person in this circumstance would normally be limited to a Lecturer in Charge or nominee or a member of staff of Student Administration.  Authorised visitors should acknowledge the supervisor's need to maintain examination integrity and must follow the supervisor's directions.
2 Lecturers in Charge should be aware that bilingual dictionaries normally include the meaning of words in the foreign language.
3 In this circumstance the student may submit an application for special consideration (refer to Assessment Policy and Assessment Procedures.)
4 The student will submit a deferred examination application (see Section 12).

Page last updated: 29 Jun 2017

Short url: https://handbook.acu.edu.au/640591