An Institutional Framework for Exam Alternatives is being shared with professors as they plan alternative assessments in place of final exams. Included are the following options for Exam Alternatives. Please note that each program will decide on solutions that are appropriate to specific courses; solutions will vary across campus.

Institutional Framework for Exam Alternatives

Option 1 - Final grade based on completed course work

In courses where students have already completed at least 60% of course requirements, professors may give a final course grade based on the evaluation of achievement in the term work of the course. Students would not be required to complete an Exam Alternative.

Option 2 - Alternative Summative Project

In some cases, an assignment may take the place of the final exam. This could take various forms:

  • Essay
  • Open-book exam
  • Production of an artifact (slide deck, video or audio recording)
  • Group project/recorded presentation


The due date for the Alternative Summative Project will be no sooner than the end of the regularly-scheduled exam time for the course.

Option 3 - Oral Exam

For small-enrolment courses, a technology-mediated oral exam may be possible (using Zoom or Skype).

Option 4 - Pass/Fail

In rare cases, it may be possible for professors to give a grade of Pass/Fail in the course. The goal of P/F is to ensure students are able to progress into courses or programs for which the current course serves as a prerequisite. This option requires approval of the Dean.

Professors have been asked to communicate to you by March 30, 2020, the Exam Alternative option they will be using in your course. Western remains committed to ensuring that students can complete their term. Every effort will continue to be made in support of students requiring accommodation.

Many students will still have assignments and projects due in the last three weeks of classes. In some cases these will be modified so that they can be completed remotely. You are encouraged to check OWL regularly for updates on any revisions to course work.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Will I be able to get a final grade in each course I'm registered in?

The University is making every effort to ensure that students who are registered in Western courses will receive a final grade in each course.

2. Several options are given in the Western Framework for Exam Alternatives. Do I get to choose the option I prefer?

No. The option for each course is decided by the Department or Faculty.

3. When will I know which option will be used in my course?

Professors are asked to inform their class about the decision by March 30.

4. What are my options if I do not accept the conditions for revised assessment in my course?

Professors have made their best effort to meet the learning objectives of their classes and to assess them in a fair way. If a student feels these are unreasonable in their current situation, the University has extended the deadline to drop a second-term or full-year course without academic penalty to April 3, 2020. Students can carefully consider the new grading scheme and have the opportunity to drop without academic penalty if they choose.

5. My course will now be graded on a Pass/Fail basis, but is required in my Honours Specialization module. Will I still be able to graduate with honours?

Courses with grading schemes that have been revised to a Pass/Fail basis will not impact honours status (if a "Pass" is awarded), nor will they affect a student's standing on the Dean's Honour List or opportunity to graduate With Distinction.

6. I am on academic probation and am worried that I will not be able to meet the requirements under the new grading scheme. Will allowances by made?

Your Dean's Office is aware of the situation and will take it into account when making decisions about your status. In addition, the University has extended the deadline to drop second-term and full-year courses without academic penalty to April 3, 2020, so you may wish to drop courses after considering the final grading scheme, which professors will release by March 30.

7. Will the deadline to submit an Intent to Register be extended?

Yes. The deadline to submit an Intent to Register for next year has been extended to April 30, 2020.

8. I have not been able to complete a course taken while on exchange. Will I get credit for the course?

While it will depend partly on the practices of the partner university, credit will be given wherever possible. In some cases, students may be asked to submit a summative project for evaluation. Contact the Associate Dean (Academic) of your Faculty for more information.

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