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Course Assessment Guidelines

  • Faculty should provide a reasonable number of graded assessments or progress reports to allow students to evaluate their performance well before the end of the semester.
  • Assignments should be returned to students in a timely manner.
  • Students should have a reasonable opportunity to review graded assignments, such as papers and examinations (including the final examination or assessment), after evaluation by the faculty member, and while materials are reasonably current.
  • Information about assessments and determination of the final course grade should be presented in a course syllabus.
  • Faculty ordinarily give exams (except for the final) during regularly scheduled class times. Assessments may take a variety of forms and need not be classroom-based written examinations. Faculty should issue mid-term grades for undergraduate students when required, in accordance with III-6.00(B), University of Maryland Policy and Procedures Concerning Mid-Term Grades for Undergraduate Students.

Final Examination Policies and Guidelines

  • Final Examination: There shall be a final examination and/or assessment in every undergraduate course. Exceptions may be made with the written approval of the department chair or other appropriate unit administrator.
  • Each faculty member shall retain, for one full semester (either fall or spring) after a course is ended, the students’ final assessments in the appropriate medium. If a faculty member goes on leave for a semester or longer, or leaves the university, the faculty member shall leave the final assessments and grade records for the course with the department chair, the program director, or the dean of the College or School, as appropriate.
  • All in-class final examinations must be held on the date and at the time listed in the official final examination schedule. Out-of-class final examination or equivalent assessments shall be due on the date and at a time listed in the official final examination schedule. Changes to final examination schedules and locations must be approved by the chair of the department or the dean of the College, or the appropriate designee. However, final examinations or assessments may not be rescheduled to the final week of classes or to Reading Day.
  • Students may seek to reschedule final examinations so that they have no more than three examinations on any given day. It is the responsibility of the student to request the rescheduling or be responsible for taking the examination as originally scheduled. When rescheduling is desired, students should first contact their instructors. Students who encounter difficulty rescheduling examinations with their instructors are advised to contact the dean's office of their academic program for help. Faculty members are expected to accommodate students with legitimate rescheduling requests.

Class Materials

Textbook Adoption & Ordering

  • Best Practices: The University's Best Practices Guidelines describe how textbook choices promote a high quality educational experience through consideration of appropriate pedagogical approaches, as well minimizing the costs of textbooks. Click here for information about the Textbook Affordability Act.
  • Ordering Textbooks: All textbook adoption information, including the International Standard Book Number (ISBN), must be submitted to the University Book Center (UBC) by March 15th for Summer and Fall classes and by October 15th for Winter and Spring classes. Use the Adoption and Insights Portal to record your textbook adoption information. Your department may use a book coordinator to order textbooks, if so, please work with your coordinator to submit your request. Contact the UBC on the web or by emailing  

    Remember to complete the Acknowledgement of Compliance form before or when submitting your order. Use the link to the left to access the Textbook Affordability Compliance form.

    Textbook information may be provided to other vendors (including online vendors) but not in lieu of submitting it to the UBC. Once the textbook adoption information is verified, it will be posted on Testudo by UBC in compliance with the University policy on textbook orders. Information posted will include title, author, publisher, edition, copyright date and publication date, ISBN, and anticipated enrollment for the course.

  • Faculty Acknowledgement of Compliance: As directed by the state's Textbook Affordability Law, faculty members must submit an acknowledgement of compliance with the law.

Self-Authored Materials

All orders of self-authored instructional materials that entail financial gain for the instructor must be approved by the chair of the department offering the course. For more information, refer to the University's policy on the use of self-authored course materials.

Sale of Course Materials in the Classroom

Sale of such materials is strongly discouraged unless the instructor is the sole source of the material or can provide the material at the lowest price. Even in that case, consider alternative modes of distribution such as sale through the department's business office or placing the material on reserve at the campus library.

Generally, the photocopying of print materials without the consent of the copyright owner is an infringement of the owner's rights. However, making a single copy for the purposes of research, and making a classroom set of a brief text or single illustration, are deemed fair use and do not require permission. The Guidelines for Classroom Copying gives a fuller definition of fair use, and the University Libraries offers advice for instructors on Best Practices for Posting Readings to ELMS. Typically faculty rely on commercial copying services or the University Copy Services to submit requests for permission to use materials. Request for permission can be sent to the Copyright Clearance Center (278 Congress St., Salem, MA 01970). Requests must be submitted sufficiently in advance to allow for the time needed to obtain permission. There may be a fee for permission.

Reserve Lists

Information about creating reserve lists is available on-line at Note that requests for reserved materials should be submitted at least two weeks prior to the date needed.

Because commercial firms have been paying students to take notes and collect course materials, which are then copied and sold, faculty members may wish to notify students at the beginning of the course that these materials are copyrighted. Course materials that exist in a tangible medium, such as written or recorded lectures, Power Point presentations, handouts and tests, are copyright protected. Students may not copy and distribute such materials except for personal use and with the instructor's permission. Course materials may also be marked copyrighted (e.g. © 2001 Smith). More information is available from the Office of General Counsel.

Faculty must acknowledge significant student assistance in the preparation of materials, articles, books, devices, and the like. Students retain their intellectual property rights as set forth in the University of Maryland Policy on Intellectual Property.

Additional Resources

Student Feedback on Course Experience Results

The University adopted an online course feedback survey system, Blue, in the summer of 2014. All surveys and reports, since that time, are in this system. The system automatically sends survey completion reminders to students and schedule information to instructors. However, you may also wish to take advantage of the system's mobile functionality by setting aside some class time for students to complete their surveys. You might ask students to bring their mobile devices or laptops to class a certain day, provide them with brief instructions for completing the survey including any specific areas about which you would like comments, and permit them time to complete surveys while you are out of the room. Taking the time to do this during class will highlight to students the importance of their feedback. Thus, this may help increase student participation, and provide you with the most useful feedback possible. Click here for more information and guidance.

Remember that you can also view your section response rates live in the system. Access and more information is available via and Canvas.

Course Grades

Course grades are determined by faculty in accordance with information found in the course syllabus.

There shall be a reasonable number of graded assessments or progress reports to permit evaluation of student performance throughout the course. These assessments shall be returned to the students in a timely manner.

Include information on how grades will be made available to students and how students will have access to review graded work including the final examination or assessment.

Confidentiality in Posting Grades

The Buckley Amendment of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act protects a student from the disclosure of personal and academic information to anyone other than the student, except under special circumstances. Posting student grades with either student names or social security numbers - in whole or in part - is strictly prohibited and exposes the University and the responsible faculty member to civil litigation. Other protected information includes, but is not limited to: special requests, current and past course registrations, enrollment status, financial aid disbursements, billing history and any disciplinary actions. For more information, please refer to the University's Policy on Confidentiality and Disclosure of Student Records. The Office of the Registrar has produced a brief (approximately 10 minutes) tutorial on FERPA. Take the tutorial.

Mid-Term Grades

Faculty are required to submit Mid-term grades for undergraduate students enrolled in their first year, enrolled in 100 and 200 level courses, and all student athletes. Mid-term grades are used to inform students of their performance in a course during roughly the first half of the semester; they are used for advising purposes and are not recorded on a student's academic transcript. III-6.00(B) University of Maryland Policy and Procedures Concerning Mid-Term Grades for Undergraduate Students

Incomplete "I" Grades

Incomplete grades may be used in two circumstances. They may be granted to students who are making satisfactory progress but, for circumstances beyond their control, are unable to complete a small portion of the course work. In addition, for graduate courses 799 and 899, incompletes must be assigned until the student has completed the thesis/dissertation. Excluding 799 and 899, the Incomplete Contract must be completed, signed and submitted. Procedures and regulations for incomplete grades can be found in the undergraduate and graduate catalogue.

Grade Submission

All final grades should be submitted electronically within 48 hours after the scheduled exam. Delays in grade submission impede students’ ability to finalize registration for the next semester and to take advantage of Winterterm and Summer Sessions. Please keep copies of final exams and the grade report for at least a year in case of the need to document past grades.

See below for information about the University's Grading System.