Story by Drew May
Starting this exam period, students will no longer be able to cancel an exam once it has started, after a motion was passed at a university Senate meeting over reading week.
The change was made in an attempt to stop some students from having an unfair advantage, according to Howard Nemiroff, a business professor and chair of the committee that made the change to the policy.
“Once the exam starts, all students have access to the full exam. Being allowed to leave the exam once it has been viewed creates an unfair advantage and an unlevel playing field,” he said over email.
Carleton’s exam policy states that students are expected to complete their exams one it has started, but Nemiroff said that if a student’s health “significantly deteriorates,” an incident report will be filled out. This is used in a student’s petition to the Registrar to have the exam written at a later date.
Mitchell Goldie, vice-president (academic) of the Carleton Student Academic Government (CASG), said he thinks the change is positive because it forces students to take a serious look at their health before starting their exam.
“I think that truly is a good thing because it’s encouraging students that if [they are] are sick, make sure that’s known,” Goldie said.
He said, however, that what exactly qualifies as a “significant deterioration of health” is not clear and could negatively impact student health.
“Is it that you’re very sick and have to go throw up, or you pass out? Is that you have to go in an ambulance? They don’t necessarily outline what that means,” Goldie said.
Fahd Alhattab, president of the Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA), said the change is alarming and he would like to see an appeal process in place in case of an emergency.
Nemiroff said the change will only impact people attempting to cheat on their exams, and not people with legitimate reasons for leaving. People with health problems or other emergencies will have a direct route to the Registrar to defer the exam, he said.
While he did not say how common it was for students to leave exams for illegitimate reasons, such as not being prepared, he said it happened often enough that it was worth looking into.
Alhattab said that this could be a reflection of student’s mental health and what is expected of them.
An email was sent to students about the changes on Nov. 21., which also announced that requests for a deferred final exam or assignment must be sent in a minimum of three days before the due date.