USF Policy 10-005: Testing and Final Examinations


Examinations in academic subjects are, for most courses, an integral part of the learning process and one part of a procedure for evaluating student performance and determining grades. The University of South Florida System (USF System) requires certain standards for the examination process in order to protect the academic integrity of courses and the best interests of both the student and instructor. Although this policy primarily addresses examinations for undergraduate courses, graduate courses with final exams during the examination week should follow the schedule for exams that is provided with the course schedule for that academic term.


This Policy does not apply to the USF Health Colleges.


A. Testing in General

 In each academic course the student is expected to undergo a meaningful testing and evaluation that will reveal the student’s intellectual growth in the subject matter covered or otherwise reflect the achievement of the course objectives.

The instructor has the responsibility of maintaining a fair and impartial testing and examination procedure, has the right to define and structure the testing process, and shall not be restricted as to form, style, or content of the examination. It is the policy of the USF System that all students facing an examination (of any type) shall have equal notice of said examination. The USF System regards the routine use of all or part of the same formal examination for successive academic terms as unsound policy except when used with adequate safeguards such as a random selection of questions from a large pool.

B. Designated Reading Days

Effective, Spring 2016, two instructional days of the Fall and Spring terms will be determined and designated Reading Days for all courses including semester length distance learning courses. Alternate calendar courses may not include designated Reading Days and students electing to take those courses should refer to their syllabus or instructor direction.

Accordingly, classes will not be scheduled on those two days. Refer to the University Catalog (Policy 10-059) for specific dates and calendars for each academic term.

C. Final Course Examinations

The last six (6) days of the Fall and Spring semesters shall be set aside for final examinations and any final examination of a comprehensive nature must be given during this designated period. The period of two hours shall be allotted for each final examination.

1. Exceptions to Final Course Exam

Take-home final examinations, papers, projects, practicums, and competency examinations are exceptions to the above rule and may be scheduled for completion at any time at the discretion of the instructor.

2. Final Exam Matrix

The Final Exam Matrix for the Tampa Main Campus (Matrix) is designated to facilitate a conflict-free schedule for greater student success in the exam process.  All Tampa Main Campus courses must comply to the Matrix as it is published with no deviations.  All make-up exams, either for block exams or the individual exams, will be scheduled during the time period allotted for students that require a make-up exam.

3. Conflicts

If a student has a direct conflict of scheduled examinations that are scheduled according to the Final Exam Matrix or the exam schedule available at a USF System Institution, the student may petition the appropriate instructor to reschedule one of the student’s examinations.  If a student has three or more examinations scheduled on the same day, the student may petition the appropriate instructor to reschedule one of the student’s examinations or the student may elect to take all exams on the same day.  If a make-up exam is requested, it will be scheduled during the make-up exam time as posted on the Final Exam Matrix.

The “appropriate instructor” in case of examination time conflicts shall be determined by the following ordered list of priorities:

a. If a student has an exam conflict between courses offered on different campuses or institutions within the USF System, the course on the student’s home campus has priority.

b. Block finals have priority over non-block finals. When two block finals conflict, the higher numbered course takes priority.

c. Apart from block finals priority, examinations for graduate level courses have priority over examinations for undergraduate level courses.

d. Apart from block finals priority and within the level of the courses, undergraduate or graduate, examinations for numerically higher numbered courses have a priority over lower numbered courses.

e. If after applying items 1 through 4, there remains a conflict, priority shall be given to the course with the prefix closest to the beginning of the alphabet.

f. The instructor of the course not receiving priority shall provide for a make-up exam either in accordance with the designated make-up exam periods or at a mutually acceptable time for both the instructor and the student during the exam period.

The final examination schedule shall be published in the same manner and place as the schedule of classes.