Temporary Change

(last updated 10/11/11)

If an existing course has been approved with a written final exam and an instructor wishes to change the final assessment method for a particular semester, the department chair may approve an alternative method, such as a term paper, oral exam, take-home exam, or final project, for that semester. Similarly, the chair may also approve a regular, written final exam for a course that has been previously approved with an alternative method, for a particular semester. Such approvals by the chair may be done on a semester-by-semester basis indefinitely. COCI has authorized department chairs to approve such changes and has implemented the following procedures in order to allow more flexibility for instructors, release classrooms for other instructors, and reduce conflicts for students. The procedures require departments to establish a process to review, approve, and monitor requests for alternative final assessment methods. The department should also notify Classroom Scheduling (scheduling@berkeley.edu(link sends e-mail)) about any temporary changes.

The following procedures implement this change and supersede older procedures (dated April 17, 1998 and September 26, 2008) pertaining to one-time variances for alternative final assessment methods.


These procedures provide for the approval of alternative final assessment methods on a semester-by-semester basis in undergraduate courses as follows:

1. As a guiding principle, department chairs should approve an alternative final assessment method only if that method is pedagogically sound.

2. The department chair is not authorized to waive the final examination requirement, schedule the final examination outside the final examination period, make a change in examination group, or conduct a common final. Such changes require the approval of the Committee on Courses of Instruction.

In addition, permanent changes in final assessment methods for any course require the approval of the Committee on Courses of Instruction  (see section

3. Department chairs should approve alternative final assessment methods for courses offered by his/her department before the semester begins. If a change is made to the method of assessment outlined in the syllabus after instruction has begun, the instructor will be required to offer the examination using both methods.

4. Alternative final assessment methods must be announced in the course syllabus given to students at the beginning of the semester.

5. Final examinations in any format must not be due during the regular semester’s period of instruction or during the reading, review, and recitation (RRR) period, with the exception of final student assessments through performances, studio critiques, or some oral presentations that cannot be otherwise scheduled during the final exam period (see section 2.1.12 for details).

6. The Office of the Registrar will provide departments with a Final Exam Preview, a turn-around document listing courses with classrooms scheduled for final examinations. The department will be asked to indicate on the form which courses that are approved by the chair for alternative final assessment methods will not require classrooms for the examination along with a brief description of the alternative final assessment method. After the department chair has signed the form, it should be returned to the Office of the Registrar before the end of the fifth week of classes. Upon request, the Office of the Registrar will provide the Committee on Courses of Instruction with copies of these documents.

7. The Committee on Courses of Instruction retains the right to revoke the authority of a department chair to grant semester-by-semester approvals of alternative final exam methods if the privilege is abused.