Testing Policies

Test Scheduling

A test is defined as a major examination of material in a course (usually administered no more frequently than every two weeks, except in summer sessions). A day is defined as the day of the week, not a 24-hour period. The Test Scheduling Policies do not apply to written report dates, scheduled oral presentations, or weekly quizzes.

No more than two tests in core courses will be given on the same day to the same class (e.g. P1, P2, etc.) Consequently, under this policy, two tests could be administered on Monday afternoon and two tests could be administered on Tuesday morning. No tests will be given during the week prior to final exams, except in the case of lab courses or when the last day of class is utilized to administer the final exam in a course.

A test schedule will be distributed to all students via posting to the College intranet and learning management system by the first day of class each semester at which time this test schedule is considered final. Students attending professional meetings may be excused from tests. In these cases, the course policy for excused test absences, as defined in the College of Pharmacy Course Policies, will be applied. Students who will miss class for a religious observance or due to attendance at an event which has been designated as a College of Pharmacy-sanctioned event will be granted an excused absence. The course coordinator MUST be notified in writing (e-mail is fine) of the scheduled absence at least four (4) weeks in advance or on day one of the semester; professors may or may not approve the request. Students should follow the reporting process to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Diversity for professional meeting absences to obtain a Deans Office issued excused absence in addition to course level approval.

P1 and transfer students are required to attend an e-testing orientation and to confirm that the appropriate software is loaded onto their laptop. They are required to participate in an e-testing practice session prior to the first exam. Students are responsible for any lost time in completion of an exam due to inexperience with the process for running the security software and/or accessing the exam.

Final examinations will be scheduled in accordance with the College of Pharmacy final exam schedule.

This test policy may be suspended or altered due to severe weather or natural disaster to facilitate rescheduling of missed classes and tests.

For room scheduling purposes only, a 3-hour block of time will be allotted for final exams. Course coordinators will determine a reasonable length of time for completion of the final course exams. The course coordinators are not required to provide 3 hours for final exams if it is unreasonable given the exam structure.

If a scheduled test must be missed due to unforeseen circumstances, the student must notify the course coordinator by letter, phone, or e-mail, prior to the test, if possible, and the student must obtain an excuse from the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Diversity or Senior Associate Dean.

If an absence is excused, the student will either be given a makeup exam or the other test grades will be increased proportionately to compensate for the missing grade. This decision will be at the discretion of the course coordinator.

After each major examination, students earning grades of D+, D, or F are strongly encouraged to contact and meet with respective course coordinators regarding their performance on the exam and mechanisms for improvement. At the midpoint of the semester, the professor of record for each required didactic and laboratory course will be asked to provide the names of students at risk for receiving grades of D+, D, or F within their course to the Dean’s Office. This will allow the Dean’s Office to identify students with academic problems in multiple courses. The Dean’s Office will schedule academic progress conferences with students who have grade difficulties in multiple courses.

Minimum Required Examination Procedures 

No examination materials (including scratch paper) are to leave the room under any circumstances during the actual examination period or during an examination review. In the case of virtually proctored electronic examinations, no content from any examination may be copied, photographed, or replicated in any way during the actual examination period or during an examination review. Scratch paper must be destroyed immediately following the examination.

If print exams are administered, scantrons will be standardized. The following elements will be used: full name (first, middle initial, last), date, social security/identification section will be last 5 digits of social security number, analysis group (version A or 1, version B or 2, version C or 3, version D or 4, depending on the scantron used).

In the case of in-class examinations, book bags are to be placed at the front or sides of the classroom away from all students for the duration of the examination.  The only items allowed at the student’s desk are:  pencils, calculators, exams, scantron sheets, and scratch paper. If electronic exams are administered, only pencils, scratch paper, and laptops are allowed. Failure to bring a laptop to a scheduled exam is considered an unexcused absence. The policy of the College is to assign a grade of zero for the electronic exam of which a student fails to bring their personal laptop, unless the student has contacted the course coordinator regarding extenuating circumstances or the course coordinator or course syllabus has indicated an alternate policy. If a laptop is malfunctioning prior to an exam, the student is required to provide proof that his/her computer is malfunctioning. Students who are aware of a computer problem prior to the exam must contact the course coordinator at least 30 minutes prior to the exam. Students may not utilize college loaner computers as their method of completing electronic exams for an extended period of time.

In the case of virtually proctored examinations, all books, notes, reference materials (paper or electronic), headphones, earbuds, cell phones, smart watches, and other electronic devices are to be placed in a separate location (preferably a different room) during the entirety of the examination. When utilized, scratch paper must be clean on both sides and free of any unacknowledged aid. Unless directed otherwise by the course coordinator, the only items allowed in the student’s testing environment are their computer/charger being used to take the exam, webcam with microphone (if separate from computer), calculator (if allowed by course coordinator), scratch paper and pencil.

Unauthorized use of any of the following during an examination will be considered a violation of the USC Honor Code: cell phones, PDAs, iPods, computers, iPads, smart watches or any time-keeping devices, headphones, earbuds, or any similar electronic devices. These devices are to be turned off and stored separately from the student during examinations. During in-class examinations, these devices must be stored in book bags during the examinations as well as during exam review sessions and until exiting the room.

Calculators (when authorized to be used by course coordinator) must not be capable of storing equations, graphs, charts, etc. Only non-programmable calculators are allowed - no cell phones, PDAs, or similar devices are to be used as calculators during exams. No additional notes or written materials may be engraved, adhered, or otherwise attached to a calculator being used during an exam or to the student’s body. Students are to be seated with at least one empty chair between individuals when facilities and space allow during in-class examinations.

Hats are not to be worn during examinations. Exception: visors and baseball caps (or similarly brimmed caps) may be worn with the brim turned around backward.

Clocks will be maintained in each of the classrooms.

Students will be assigned a password to access electronic exams. It is highly recommended that students use a hardwire connection to the internet for accessing electronic exams. If a student forgets his/her cable or simply wants to use Wi-Fi, he/she assumes responsibility for a lost wireless connection. For in-class examinations, a student who has technical problems in accessing or completing an electronic exam, a penalty may be given for providing him/her with a print copy. The penalty, if any, is specified in the course syllabus. In the case of virtually proctored electronic examinations, any student experiencing technical difficulties at the time of an exam is expected to contact the USC College of Pharmacy information technology (IT) support staff and the course coordinator upon realizing that a problem exists.

Students are expected to arrive on time for scheduled exams. Students are expected to begin virtually proctored examinations at the respective course’s start time or as instructed by the course coordinator. Arriving late to an exam or starting a virtually proctored  examination late when not due to technical difficulties reported to the course coordinator and IT staff are unprofessional and considered in violation of the professionalism policy. Grade sanctions for students arriving late to an exam are specified in each course syllabus. Students who are repeatedly late for exams will be referred to the Professionalism Committee. If a student is late to an exam for an extenuating circumstance, proof must be provided to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Diversity or Senior Associate Dean in order to prevent sanctions.

Questions relating to exam content are strictly prohibited during the examination. Questions regarding suspected typing errors on the test (e.g. omissions, misnumbering, defective exam pages, etc.) are permitted, though may be addressed post-test in order to remain fair to students completing exams in alternate locations or on alternate dates.

Food or beverages are not allowed during examinations. All food containers and beverages should be placed at the front or sides of the classroom along with book bags or otherwise stored in a separate location from the test-taker.

Restroom breaks are discouraged during in-class examinations and prohibited during virtually proctored examinations.  If restroom breaks are needed during an in-class examination, only one student at a time will be allowed to leave the exam room and a faculty member may accompany the student.  Students must leave all belongings in the classroom in this situation to avoid perceived or real academic integrity incidences.  

Cheating in any form is not allowed and will be considered an honor code violation and immediately referred to the USC Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity. Course coordinators may enact grade sanctions for the course dependent on the USC Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity resolutions.

Students should take all personal items and exit the exam room upon completion of in-class exams. Students are not permitted to reenter the exam room until all students have completed the exam.