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Scheduling of Online Assessments

Background

 

Prior to the rapid transition to online instruction necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, most exams, quizzes, and other types of assessment were administered in person during regularly scheduled class meetings; final exams and other final assessments were administered during the scheduled final exam time. During the campus closure starting in March of 2020, most assessments were conducted online. While Cal Poly has returned to predominantly in-person instruction for the 2021-22 academic year, it is likely that online assessments will continue to be used more frequently than in the pre-pandemic era.

Before Cal Poly offered online assessments, students were better able to plan their schedules so that other responsibilities would not conflict with their class assessments. Since then, online assessments have become more widespread, and some students in courses have been required to complete online assessments with a short assessment availability window, outside of the regularly scheduled class time. Some classes scheduled for asynchronous online delivery have required students to take assessments synchronously at a specific date and time within a short assessment availability window. In some instances, the assessment availability window has been as short as 30 – 60 minutes. These practices have created conflicts for students required to complete an assessment at the same time that they had other scheduled obligations such as a scheduled class meeting for another course, employment, family care responsibilities, or a school-related event. This could compromise student success if students must choose between taking an online assessment, or missing another class, or having to take time off work.

Faculty can avoid creating these conflicts by adhering to the following guidance.

 

Guidance
 

Availability Window Definition



For the purposes of this guidance, the "assessment availability window" is the time during which a student can choose to complete an exam, quiz, or other assessment. This is not the same as the time limit for the assessment. For instance, an exam with a 90-minute time limit to complete, could have an assessment availability window from Monday at 6 AM until Tuesday at 6 PM. The student could start the exam anytime in the 36-hour assessment availability window but would have to finish within 90 minutes of starting the exam.

 

During the Instructional Period (Not including Finals Week)


  1. For classes with a scheduled meeting time, assessments administered online should be offered during the regularly scheduled class meeting time or have an assessment availability window of at least 24 hours; assessment availability windows can include weekend days, but at least 24 hours of the window should be on a weekday.
  2. For classes with a scheduled meeting time, for nightly assignments submitted in class or online, the completion/submission availability window should be a least 24 hours, or for classes that meet on successive days, the complete time interval between class meetings.
  3. For classes without a scheduled meeting time, assessments administered online should have an assessment availability window of at least 24 hours; assessment availability windows can include weekend days, but at least 24 hours of the window should be on a weekday.
  4. Faculty are strongly encouraged to set the assessment availability window for online assessments to at least 36 hours; at least 24 of those hours should be on a weekday.

 

During the Last Week of Classes for lab courses, activity courses, and 1-unit lecture courses


  1. For classes with a scheduled meeting time, final assessments administered online should occur during the scheduled class meeting time or have an assessment availability window of at least 48 hours. The day and time of the final assessment or the assessment availability window for the final assessments should be included in the syllabus on the first day of class.
  2. For classes without a scheduled meeting time, final assessments administered online should have an assessment availability window of at least 48 hours and the assessment availability window for the final assessment should be included in the syllabus on the first day of class.
  3. Faculty are strongly encouraged to set the assessment availability window for online final assessments to 72 hours or more.

 

During Finals Week for lecture courses of two or more units


  1. For classes with a scheduled meeting time, final assessments administered online should be offered during the time posted in the final exam schedule or have an assessment availability window of at least 48 hours during finals week (Monday-Friday). The day and time of the final assessment or the assessment availability window for the final assessments should be included in the syllabus on the first day of class.
  2. For classes without a scheduled meeting time, final assessments administered online should have an assessment availability window of at least 48 hours during final exam week (Monday-Friday) and the assessment availability window for the final assessment should be included in the syllabus on the first day of class.
  3. Faculty are strongly encouraged to set the assessment availability window for online final assessments to 72 hours or more.

 

Updated June 2022


 

Source:

AS-939-22 "Resolution on Scheduling of Online Assessments" (pdf). Adopted May 3, 2022.

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