Guidelines for Final Exams/Assessments

Provost Angela Olinto announces resources and guidelines for final exams to end the 2023-24 academic year.

April 24, 2024

Dear members of the Columbia community, 

We are writing to provide updates regarding guidelines for the final exams and assessments at the end of the semester. As we mentioned earlier this week, safety is our highest priority as we strive to support our students’ learning and all the required academic operations.

In order to address the concerns of our members in an evolving campus environment, all final course assessments (e.g., exams, presentations, projects) on the Morningside campus (with the carveouts listed at the end) must include a remote option for students who have requested support for virtual assessment. Faculty and other instructors of record should therefore make preparations for their final exams to provide a remote option. 

There are a number of options faculty and instructors of record may consider, such as (i) substituting a take-home exam for an in-class exam, (ii) offering both in-person and remote testing during the scheduled exam, or (iii) offering a fully remote option at the scheduled time. Remote proctoring options include software solutions (such as “Secure Exam Proctor” in CourseWorks), opening a Zoom room for remote students within CourseWorks (“Zoom Class Sessions”), or enlisting a remote proctor to physically administer the exam on your behalf.

Students who qualify for disability accommodations via Disability Services will be advised by that office, and colleagues from Disability Services may reach out to coordinate final assessments with faculty and instructors.

Colleagues in the Columbia Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) are prepared to consult with instructors about the possible ways of adjusting course assessments. Faculty may attend CTL Zoom "office hours" Monday-Friday from 9:00AM-5:00PM (drop-in—no appointment necessary), or make an appointment by writing to [email protected]. The CTL also offers online resources that provide guidance in creating online course assessments: 

Additional resources are available from CUIT:

Separate Considerations:

Arts/Practice-based programs: If a class does not permit adapting to the remote assessment format, we encourage faculty to provide other accommodations generously to students who have requested support for virtual assessment.

Medical Center and Manhattanville: Normal final assessment arrangements as scheduled, but granting accommodations based on religious reasons, or approved disability accommodations.

We know this is a challenging time on many fronts, but the safety and well-being of our students and community is paramount. We are grateful for all of your efforts and understanding.

Angela V. Olinto
Professor of Astronomy and of Physics