Academic Handbook for Instructors

2023–24 Updates

For 2023–24, there will be two modalities for final exams. Instructors would need to indicate in the Course Information System (CIS) at the start of term whether they would like to offer either of the following:

In-Person Final Exam
  • Scheduled and roomed by LSM and OFR
  • Either 2 or 3 hours in duration
  • Syllabus should indicate a date of “During Final Exam Period, date to be announced” or “During Final Exam Period, date TBA”
Online Final Exam
  • Scheduled by LSM and OFR
  • Either 2 or 3 hours in duration, during the scheduled time slot
  • Syllabus should indicate a date of “During Final Exam Period, date to be announced” or “During Final Exam Period, date TBA”
  • Students would not be writing inside a classroom
  • There would be no in-person invigilation
  • Use of video or other tools for online invigilation would not be permitted

Students who do not write their final exam (in-person or online) will need to petition for a deferred final exam. Instructors and units cannot excuse a student from writing a final exam nor can they offer an alternative date or format of examination.

Additional change for 2023–24: The category of ‘online final assessments' will no longer exist, nor will there be completion windows during the Final Exam Period. For online testing, instructors will have the option of a scheduled Online Final Exam (described above), or for online “take-home” tests, instructors will need to follow the guidelines described below.

Term Work Deadline Extended into Final Exam Period

Term work deadlines are typically within the term. However, if a course has no final exam, instructors can set submission deadline of one term assignment during the Final Exam Period, which includes “take-home” tests (submitted online or in-person). The deadline should be indicated in the syllabus.

Students must receive all questions and instructions before the last two weeks of a term to ensure that they can begin upon receipt. Extending the deadline into the Final Exam Period can provide students with flexibility at this busy time, but it is also important to ensure that students can, if they wish, complete this piece of term work before the Final Exam Period.

Current Policy Otherwise Holds
  • No term test or combination of term tests having a value greater than 25% of the final mark may be held in the final two weeks of classes. This includes “take-home tests” and assignments where the topics or questions are both assigned and due within the last two weeks of classes.
Other Notes on Final Exam Periods

For Y-courses, the April Final Exam Period will be similarly structured. Y-courses may opt for a term test during the December Final Exam Period (in-person or online). These would follow the guidelines used for final exams (see above), with a term test duration ranging from 1-3 hours.

There should be no scheduled classes or other required class activity:
During a Final Exam Period (December 9–20 and April 10–30), or on a Study Day (December 8, April 9).

  • December and April will have Final Exam Periods that can be used for final exams (in-person or online). Y-courses may have a term test during the December Final Exam Period. See above for details.
  • First-year courses are not required to have a final exam. If there is a final exam, it must carry a weight of no more than 2/3 of the final mark.
  • No test or combination of tests worth over 25% may be scheduled during the last two weeks of term: November 24 – December 7 and March 26 – April 8.
  • No individual assessment may be worth more than 80%.
  • Important dates for the return of graded work:
    • For F-courses, at least 10% of the students’ final grade must be returned by the last regularly scheduled class meeting prior to the Drop Date (November 6). For F-courses that do not meet regularly (e.g., asynchronous online courses, independent study courses) the deadline is one business day prior to the Drop Date.
    • For Y-courses, at least 20% of the students' final grade must be returned no later than January 14.
    • For S-courses, at least 10% of the students’ final grade must be returned by the last regularly scheduled class meeting prior to the Drop Date (March 11). For S-courses that do not meet regularly (e.g., asynchronous online courses, independent study courses) the deadline is one business day prior to the Drop Date.
  • Term work deadlines should be within the term (i.e., period in which classes meet prior to the Final Exam Period, no later than December 7 and April 8), with one exception:
    • For 2023–24, instructors may set the submission deadline of one piece of term work, including “take home” tests, during a Final Exam Period provided that:
      • The course has no final exam (or term test for Y-courses) scheduled during the Final Exam Period.
      • Instructors give students the term assignment details, or the questions in the case of “take home” tests, before the last two weeks of a term (before November 24 for F and Y-courses; before March 26 for S and Y-courses). Where feasible, consider providing the assignment details or questions even earlier.
      • While extending the deadline into the Final Exam Period provides students with flexibility at this busy time, it is also important to ensure that students can, if they wish, complete this piece of term work before the Final Exam Period.
      • If possible, refrain from setting the deadline at the end of the Final Exam Period. This will allow for accommodations, ample time for grading, and other unforeseen concerns that may arise.
1. Overview

Effective September 2023, the University has updated the guidelines for declaring absences in ACORN. Following this, Arts & Science has created a webpage that provides an overview of policies and processes for A&S student absences, incorporating the new University guidelines. This page is primarily for students, but instructors should review details on the new Absence Declaration Tool and use policies.

2. Verification Email

Instructors will now receive an email from that includes a copy of the Absence Declaration PDF. This email serves as verification of student use of the Absence Declaration with student information and absence declaration date range. As such, instructors do not need to ask students for a separate copy of the student’s Absence Declaration.

It will be important to let students know in your syllabus what email address to use for your course. The verification email will be sent to that address. If a student enters an incorrect email address and the instructor does not receive a verification email, unit undergraduate administrators can provide separate confirmation.

Students have been instructed to connect separately with their instructor(s) when they have used the Absence Declaration so they can arrange for academic consideration specific to the missed academic obligation (e.g., deadline, term test, lab). This follows practice used for other documented absences (e.g., using a Verification on Illness (VOI) form or College Registrar Letter). Instructors may want to remind students of this important follow-up step in their course syllabi.

Undergraduate students from Engineering will be using an absence declaration system specific to their Faculty. Instructors may receive emails from to verify that a student has declared their absence via the Engineering Student Portal. The email will indicate dates absent and should be accepted as documentation equivalent to the Absence Declaration in ACORN. Engineering students will also be informed that it is their responsibility to connect with their instructor (or course coordinator) to arrange for academic consideration separate from the absence declaration submission.

3. Documentation

Instructors should review Section 4.7 (Missed Term Work), which has been updated for 2023–24.

Documentation Types

The following are recognized forms of documentation for student absences. It is good practice to outline these requirements in your syllabus.

  • Absence declaration via ACORN
  • U of T Verification of Illness or Injury Form
  • College Registrar’s letter
  • Letter of Academic Accommodation from Accessibility Services

Any one of the above forms of recognized documentation should be considered sufficient on its own when requesting academic consideration. When provided, instructors should not ask for additional documentation or details beyond what is already in these documents.

Documentation supporting student absence may contain sensitive personal information collected under FIPPA rules, and must be treated as containing confidential information, stored securely for one year and then destroyed in a secure manner.

Updates for 2023–24
  • The Verification of Illness (VOI) will again be a form of documentation that a student may present for absences due to illness.
  • The Absence Declaration continues to be accepted as documentation in support of requests for academic consideration, although now students may only use the Absence Declaration once per academic term (e.g., the fall term) for a maximum period of 7 consecutive calendar days. See A&S Student Absences for additional information on eligibility.
  • The once-per-term limit is set by the ACORN Absence Declaration Tool. Once a declaration is submitted, students will be restricted from using the tool to declare any further absences in that term.
  • If a student has already submitted an Absence Declaration for the term and is going to miss a deadline, test or other course work (due to illness, emergency or bereavement), they are still able to submit any of the recognized forms of documentation (see list above) when seeking academic consideration.
  • According to University policy, the ACORN Absence Declaration Tool is intended to be used in the following circumstances:
    • A health condition or injury (e.g., illness, serious physical harm, mental health issue, scheduled surgery)
    • A personal or family emergency (e.g., unanticipated and unavoidable familial incident beyond the student’s control)
    • Bereavement (e.g., the death a student’s immediate family member or close friend)
4. Example Syllabus Language for Absence Due to Illness

If you become ill and it affects your ability to do your academic work, consult me right away. Normally, I will ask you for documentation in support of your specific medical circumstances. This documentation can be an Absence Declaration (via ACORN) or the University's Verification of Student Illness or Injury (VOI) form. The VOI indicates the impact and severity of the illness, while protecting your privacy about the details of the nature of the illness. If you cannot submit a VOI due to limits on terms of use, you can submit a different form (like a letter from a doctor), as long as it is an original document, and it contains the same information as the VOI (including dates, academic impact, practitioner's signature, phone and registration number). For more information on the VOI, please see For information on Absence Declaration Tool for A&S students, please see If you get a concussion, break your hand, or suffer some other acute injury, you should register with Accessibility Services as soon as possible.


1. Course Syllabus: Content and Design

A course syllabus contains information specifically required by University or Faculty policy, as well as information to help shape students’ expectations.

The contents of a course syllabus can be thought of as a “contract” with students, establishing course requirements while also highlighting useful course-related information.

Important: Instructors must make their syllabi readily available to students, no later than the first week of the course. Ideally, this is done 10 days before the first class — for example, by posting the syllabus to the Quercus course site, and making that Quercus page available to students (tip: the entire Quercus site does not have to be ready — just the parts needed when the course begins). This allows students who require accommodations to make any necessary arrangements before classes start, so they are not disadvantaged.

Also, this provides students with valuable information that may help them decide if they want to continue with the course or drop it before classes begin (freeing up spots for students if there is a waiting list). There are situations, such as when a sessional instructor is hired close to the course start date, where the 10-day recommendation may not be possible. At a minimum, a copy must be distributed to students in the first week of the course, and attention drawn to its major elements.

Required Information

Instructors are required to include the following details on their syllabi by Faculty and/or University policy. Generally, anything that contributes to or affects a student’s mark (e.g., marking schemes, late penalties for assignments, etc.) must appear on a course syllabus.

1.1 Course Contact Information and Office Hours

Instructors are strongly encouraged to include their university email address on their syllabus so that students may contact them. Use of unofficial communication channels (e.g., social media) is not recommended. Instructors must also include their office hours.

Contact information should be accompanied by communication expectations, including:

  • acceptable modes of communication
  • timelines for responses
  • times when an instructor is unavailable.

1.2 Marking Scheme

Instructors must include their marking scheme on their syllabus. This scheme should explicitly list:

  • methods of evaluation (assignments, tests, examinations, presentations, or other)
  • the relative weight of each item in the final course grade
  • the due date/timing of each item
  • the late penalty policy (if instructor intends to accept and apply penalties for late submissions)

Instructors should clearly state if the course will have a final exam in the Final Examination period.

If an instructor needs to change the methods of evaluation or their relative weight after they have been made known by the last date to enrol in the course, they must follow the rules set out in the section Changing the Course Marking Scheme. To maintain a level of flexibility and responsiveness in the detail of assignments, instructors should consider providing thorough assignment descriptions to students over the course of the term, rather than providing full details in the syllabus.

1.3 Plagiarism Detection Tool (If Applicable)

Instructors who intend to use the U of T plagiarism detection tool for receiving written assignments must include the following text in their syllabi:

“Normally, students will be required to submit their course essays to the University’s plagiarism detection tool for a review of textual similarity and detection of possible plagiarism. In doing so, students will allow their essays to be included as source documents in the tool’s reference database, where they will be used solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. The terms that apply to the University’s use of this tool are described on the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation website.”

Instructors must also inform their students that use of the tool is voluntary and provide alternate means of submitting assignments should their students not wish to use the tool.

For more on the institutional plagiarism detection tool, see the section Plagiarism Detection Tool.

1.4 Late Penalty Policy (If Applicable)

If an instructor intends to accept and/or apply penalties to late assignments, then the rules must be specified in the course syllabus. For example, the instructor should outline:

  • whether they require prior notification of impending lateness
  • the penalty that will be applied per unit of time
  • maximum possible penalty
  • ultimate deadline when work will no longer be accepted
  • documentation required, if relevant, while following institutional policies so as to respect student privacy

Depending on the assignment, late penalties normally range from 2% to 10% per day. Instructors may wish to explore alternative late penalty mechanisms (e.g., grace periods, or lateness forgiveness “tokens”).

Note: Where a student presents with an accessibility or religious accommodation, instructors should review Section 9 to understand what is required. Late penalties may still apply if a student misses a revised deadline created as part of an accommodation.

1.5 Recording of Online Course Meetings (If Applicable)

Before a course begins, students must be informed if any synchronous online course elements will be recorded or live streamed that will include their participation, whether as audio, video, or text (e.g., in a chat window). Instructors are strongly encouraged to use one of the following statements prepared by the U of T FIPP Office (Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy), either one of which can be used to notify students of the intention to record online course meetings:

Example 1: Notice of Video Recording and Sharing (Download and Re-Use Prohibited)

This course, including your participation, will be recorded on video and will be available to students in the course for viewing remotely and after each session.

Course videos and materials belong to your instructor, the University, and/or other sources depending on the specific facts of each situation and are protected by copyright. Do not download, copy, or share any course or student materials or videos without the explicit permission of the instructor.

For questions about recording and use of videos in which you appear please contact your instructor.

Example 2: Notice of Video Recording and Sharing (Download Permissible; Re-Use Prohibited)

This course, including your participation, will be recorded on video and will be available to students in the course for viewing remotely and after each session.

Course videos and materials belong to your instructor, the University, and/or other source depending on the specific facts of each situation and are protected by copyright. In this course, you are permitted to download session videos and materials for your own academic use, but you should not copy, share, or use them for any other purpose without the explicit permission of the instructor.

For questions about recording and use of videos in which you appear please contact your instructor.

1.6 Other Important Information

Listed below are guidelines and sections that instructors may find useful to add to their syllabi. The Faculty recommends their inclusion; however, the specific content of the syllabus (beyond what is required) is left to each instructor’s academic judgment and discretion.

Calendar Course Information

Instructors should include timetable information for their course on the syllabus, including:

  • the full course code and course name
  • instructor name(s)
  • meeting times and locations (building and room)

Quercus Information

If using a Quercus course page, instructors should include a link to it on the syllabus. Consider outlining what students will find on the page, and how they are expected to interact with it. The A&S Digital Teaching and Learning site contains detailed information on setting up Quercus pages for a course.

Course Objectives

As a best practice, it is recommended that instructors state the “learning outcomes” for the course on the syllabus. Learning outcomes should be student-oriented, focusing on knowledge, skills, and experience, while emphasizing the integration and application of knowledge.

The A&S Digital Teaching & Learning Quercus site has useful information on writing learning outcomes at the course level and what they should address, such as:

  • What knowledge, concepts, and methodologies will the student understand?
  • How will students organize, analyze, and apply knowledge?
  • How will students respond to situations, problems, and scenarios?
  • How will students express their organization, analysis, and application of knowledge?
  • What actions or practices will students need to achieve and perform?

Ideally, learning outcomes should frame how a particular course fits into a program of study or curriculum.

Tutorial/Lab Objectives

It is recommended that instructors specify the pedagogical purpose of tutorials/labs within a course. Instructors should consider describing:

  • the overall goals of tutorial/lab activities
  • expectations about student attendance, preparation, participation, etc.
  • the intended role of the TA

Relevant Dates

Consider including any Arts & Science academic dates and deadlines which conflict with or impinge on the course in the syllabus. For example, if Thanksgiving Monday falls on the day there is a class scheduled, instructors should notify students if they will be using the Make-Up Day at the end of term.

The A&S Make-Up Day is an extra teaching day in lieu of classes missed for holidays that fall on the same day of the week that your class is normally scheduled. Please keep in mind that Make-Up Days are only meant to be used for classes that were not held because of a holiday (e.g., a class normally held on Friday that could not take place because of the Good Friday holiday). They are not meant to be used as a general “catch-up day” for missed classes due to other reasons such as instructor illness or a “snow day.” The make-up class should be held during the same time as your regular class since students may have other make-up classes (possibly with tests) on that day. Make-Up Days are specified in the Faculty’s academic dates and deadlines. If you intend to make use of a Make-Up Day, be sure to include this in your syllabus, so that students know well in advance that they are expected to attend class on that day.

Academic Integrity Details

Instructors are strongly advised to include Academic Integrity information in their syllabi, especially regarding plagiarism and inappropriate collaboration (see section 8 below, and as outlined in the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters).


Instructors should include this text in the syllabus:

“If you have a consideration that may require accommodations, please contact Accessibility Services:, 416-978-8060 or”

For further information, please refer to the section Student Support, Accessibility, and Accommodations.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

To encourage a welcoming and inclusive environment, instructors should ensure that expectations of respectful discourse are clearly articulated in the syllabus and shared verbally at the outset of the course. Sample syllabus text is available from CTSI and is included below:

“The University of Toronto is committed to equity, human rights and respect for diversity. All members of the learning environment in this course should strive to create an atmosphere of mutual respect where all members of our community can express themselves, engage with each other, and respect one another’s differences. U of T does not condone discrimination or harassment against any persons or communities.”


2. Course Administration

Key Resource

Course Enrolment section (Academic Calendar site) — Instructors are encouraged to read the Course Enrolment section of the Academic Calendar’s Rules and Regulations.

2.1 Enrolment in a Course

Enrolment in Arts & Science courses is a registrarial matter, processed via ROSI/ACORN, and not generally within the control of instructors. Eligibility, checking of prerequisites, required permissions, etc. are handled electronically by staff in academic units. Students are not enrolled in a course unless they are enrolled on ROSI/ACORN.

Important: Instructors should not tell students they are enrolled in a course if they are not enrolled in ROSI/ACORN.

Instructors must not mark assignments or tests for students who are not officially enrolled in their course.

Instructors are encouraged to direct students to check their enrolment status in ACORN and direct inquiries to the Undergraduate Administrator, or to their College Registrar.

After the enrolment deadline, late enrolment in courses may be granted on a case-by-case basis at the department/instructor’s discretion through the Undergraduate Administrator.

Please note:

  • Class lists on Quercus are updated at a fixed time each day. They are not linked to ROSI/ACORN in real-time.
  • That being the case, there may be a delay of 24-48 hours for students to appear in, or be removed from, Quercus.
  • Adding students to the Quercus class list does not enrol them in the course or guarantee enrolment. Students must enrol through ROSI/ACORN.

Students Enrolled with Credit/No Credit Status

Important: Students who have chosen to take a course on a CR/NCR basis will not be identified to the instructor and must be assessed like all other students.

Students may select up to 2.0 credits to be assessed on a Credit/No Credit (CR/NCR) basis. Courses with a final status of CR will count as degree credits but will have no effect on the student’s GPA. They will count towards Distribution/Breadth Requirements and degree credits. However, they cannot be used to satisfy program requirements nor the 12.0 different credits requirement between programs for a degree.

2.2 Prerequisite/Corequisite/Exclusion Waivers

Pre and Corequisites

Departments have differing practices regarding enforcing pre or corequisites. Instructors can make a recommendation to their Undergraduate Administrator about an individual student, but waivers should ultimately be left to the department.

Important: Unless explicitly given permission by their department, instructors should not promise or issue waivers (or anything that may be construed as a waiver) for a course’s pre or corequisites.

Should a student have an outstanding deferred exam in a prerequisite course, instructors should refer them to the Undergraduate Administrator.


In general, one course is an “exclusion” for another if the two overlap in content such that the second would be “repeated work,” and hence the excluded course is ineligible for degree credit.

Erroneous information provided to a student on this issue could result in their being denied degree credit for a completed course (even well after completion).

Important: Exclusions are completely outside an instructor’s jurisdiction. Exclusions are identified by an academic unit through governance processes and enforced by the Office of the Faculty Registrar.

Instructors should refer students to their Undergraduate Administrator.

2.3 Late Enrolment

Students may enrol in a course after the start of the term either by enrolling themselves directly, or by being enrolled off a waitlist by an Undergraduate Administrator. There may be a 48-hour delay from the date of enrolment into a course before students gain access to Quercus.

If tutorials in a course start before the last day to enrol in courses for the term, or if there are quizzes/assignments due before this date, instructors may want to consider including a note in their syllabus for affected students.

Students who enrol late are expected to make up any missed assignments and should not expect extensions on upcoming work.

The course unit’s Undergraduate Administrator can confirm the date and time a student enrols into a course on ROSI/ACORN. The last date to enrol is approximately two weeks after the start of classes. There is a web page that lists academic dates and deadlines on the Arts & Science website.

In rare cases, students may be enrolled after the last day to enrol in courses for a term — this is done on a case-by-case basis at the unit’s discretion. Instructors may be asked by their unit’s Associate Chair, Undergraduate (or equivalent) to comment on a late enrolment request.

2.4 Dropping Courses

Students may cancel their enrolment in a course “without academic penalty” in a number of ways, depending on the timing. This is normal practice in the Faculty and should cause no specific concern.

  • Cancel: Students may cancel a course on ACORN and have it disappear from their academic history by the “Drop Date,” a deadline that is roughly three-quarters of the way through the course. The drop dates for each term are listed on the A&S website.
  • LWD (Late Withdrawal): The Faculty’s late withdrawal policy allows students to LWD up to 3.0 credits in their degree, provided they do so by the last day of term. Students who have late withdrawn from a course should no longer appear on the Quercus class list, although this change can take up to 48 hours. Late Withdrawal enables students to remedy situations, particularly in their early years at university, where personal or other circumstances mean they are irretrievably behind in a course. Note that the option for Late Withdrawal is not available if an allegation of academic misconduct is under investigation.
  • WDR (Petitioned Withdrawal Without Academic Penalty): After the LWD deadline, or after the Drop Date if they have used up their 3.0 LWDs, students must petition to have a course dropped from their record. If they have legitimate reasons and the petition is granted, a WDR will appear on their record. Instructors may be consulted about a student’s term work as the Faculty responds to the petition and should ensure marks records are clear and up to date so the information will be easily available to their Undergraduate Administrator.

If students have questions or are undecided about whether they should drop a course, instructors can advise them about their situation specific to that course. However, a student’s College Registrar’s office should be their primary resource for academic planning and progress advice, especially if their circumstances affect more than just one course. The Colleges’ advising teams are best suited to provide students with holistic advice, taking their entire situation into account.

2.5 Repeating Courses

In general, A&S prohibits students from repeating courses in which they have already achieved a passing mark. Exceptions to this rule are outlined in the Calendar. Instructors should direct students to speak with their College Registrar if they have questions about repeating courses.

2.6 Auditing Courses

The University and the Faculty have delegated rules and restrictions about auditing courses to the academic units. Some departments have strict policies about this; others leave it to the instructor’s discretion. If a student asks to audit, that is, sit through the course without enrolling for credit and a final mark, an instructor should not agree to this before clarifying their department’s policy on this. Some units forbid it entirely; others charge a fee if the student wants some documentation of a completed audit.

Students auditing courses may:

  • attend lectures and class meetings
  • take part in discussions
  • receive written confirmation of attendance

Auditors may not:

  • receive evaluations of participation
  • be allowed to submit assessments or write exams (unless granted special express permission by the instructor)

Expectations for/Limits on Auditing

In general, instructors who have agreed to allow an auditor should clearly establish the expectations and limits that apply to them. For example, are auditors:

  • permitted to sit in and listen only?
  • allowed or expected to participate in discussion?
  • allowed to submit assignments and write tests that will be marked?


3. Course/Classroom Procedures

Key Resource

First Class Strategies (CTSI) — Instructors are encouraged to read CTSI’s compilation of First Class strategies and helpful resources.

3.1 Attendance & Participation Policies

A&S does not have a general policy about student attendance in classes; this is left to the discretion of individual instructors and units.

Instructors may include a requirement for their own courses that assesses student contributions through attendance and participation. If used, such course requirements should include:

  • Reliable recording of attendance and student contributions at each class. Instructors should carefully consider how this translates into an online or hybrid course.
  • Awareness that the primary means to administer such a requirement is by designating class contributions as a portion of the course mark.
  • Procedures to handle exceptions, such as for illness (e.g., if a student is unable to participate in a class or in an online discussion board, providing an alternative such as submitting a brief commentary or report, with an extended deadline).
  • Procedures for accommodations (e.g., disability, religious) that affect attendance or class contributions.

Note: Instructors should design class contribution policies to achieve pedagogical objectives and differentiate between passive attendance and active participation. Instructors should clarify for students what kinds of activity will lead to a good participation mark and consider offering multiple ways of contributing positively to the course learning experience.

Types of participatory contributions may include:

  • asking thoughtful questions in class
  • engaging in meaningful class discussions
  • interactive in-class or online activities
  • taking active roles in group work and/or breakout rooms, etc.

Note: Instructors are cautioned against the use of passive attendance or engagement metrics generated by learning management systems such as Quercus, or attendance reports from webinar platforms, as they may not provide consistent and reliable data.

3.2 Digital Device Policy & Lecture Capture Policy

Key Resources

Digital Teaching & Learning — Information on recording courses to capture lectures and discussions for students to reference (or for asynchronous participation).

Recording of Lectures and Class Sessions (CTSI) — Outlines copyright and privacy considerations (for both students and instructors) and offers sample statements for course outlines.

Use of Electronic Devices Policy

Instructors may set guidelines for the use of devices in class at their discretion, bearing in mind that students commonly use electronic devices to access and manage course materials as well as their own notes, etc. It is advisable to incorporate student feedback (e.g., on what peer behaviours are most distracting, and what limits may be appropriate) when devising a device policy.

Additionally, keep in mind that some students use laptops as an accessibility support, or act as volunteer notetakers for students with accessibility needs.

Important: Instructors must accommodate student accessibility needs as they pertain to usage of electronic devices and ensure that they do so in a way that respects student privacy. For example, an “exemption” to an otherwise blanket policy prohibiting electronic devices violates student privacy (as it may make their approved academic accommodations obvious to the rest of the class) and does not accommodate undeclared accessibility needs.

Taping/Recording/Photographing of Lectures

The University considers an instructor’s lectures and course material to be the instructor’s intellectual property and covered by the Canadian Copyright Act.

Important: Students wishing to record lectures or other course material in any way are required to ask the instructor’s explicit permission and may not do so unless permission is granted. This includes audio and video recording, and photographing slides or other course materials.

Granting permission to record applies only for that individual student’s own study purposes and does not include permission to “publish” or distribute them in any way. It is forbidden for a student to publish an instructor’s notes on a website or to sell them in other form without formal permission.

Digital materials provided by the instructor in the normal course of teaching and learning are similarly protected by copyright and may not be shared without the explicit permission of the instructor.

Important: A student's accessibility accommodation may include recording of lectures if deemed appropriate. However, such recordings are restricted to that student’s exclusive use for studying and may not be shared without permission.

Instructors should state the University policy on recording course material at the beginning of the course, and reiterate it as needed to individual students should concerns arise. If an instructor finds copyrighted material on a website, they should notify the site administrator of the copyright violation and request that the material be removed immediately.

3.3 Educational Technologies & Digital Learning Materials

Key Resources

Digital Teaching & Learning — Resources on digitally enhanced teaching (in-person, hybrid, and online courses).

Education Technology resources from the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation (CTSI)

Academic, Research & Collaborative (ARC) Technologies — Additional assistance and training for use of educational technologies.

Educational Technologies

Educational technologies can be powerful teaching tools when used in a pedagogically appropriate way. The links above provide instructors with resources on digitally enhanced teaching for in-person, hybrid, and online courses and offer a wide range of tools for active learning, student communication, course administration, assessment, and classroom response.

Digital Learning Materials

The use of digital learning materials at the University of Toronto is governed by the Provostial Guidelines on the Use of Digital Learning Materials. These guidelines provide rules and restrictions related to requiring students to purchase digital learning tools.

In addition to fulfilling these conditions, instructors should consider alternatives to commercial digital resources that may be available through the University of Toronto Libraries, including open-source online resources, or resources acquired through institutional purchasing agreements. Librarians can also assist with building online reading lists through the Course Readings and Reserves Support.

3.4 Working with Teaching Assistants

Teaching assistants (TAs) teach tutorials, conduct labs, grade assignments and other assessments, and/or invigilate tests and exams. At the University of Toronto, TAs belong to the CUPE 3902, Unit 1 bargaining unit and their work is governed by a collective agreement.

Instructors are responsible for discussing duties and allocation of time with their TA(s) at the beginning of term. Instructors must complete the Description of Duties and Allocation of Hours (DDAH) form reflecting this information and should ask their Undergraduate Associate Chair for unit-specific procedures for completing the DDAH. TAs must receive adequate training that, at a minimum, meets the mandatory training in the collective agreement. Instructors should speak with their units about any mandatory or optional training for TAs assigned to their course.

The Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation provides resources on working with teaching assistants. The Teaching Assistants’ Training Program (TATP) offers pedagogical training and professional development sessions for TAs that can be used, with permission from the department and course instructor, to fulfil the mandatory job training requirements.

3.5 Course Evaluations

The University of Toronto requires that all courses, both undergraduate and graduate, receive evaluations by students. A&S courses use the University of Toronto’s centralized course evaluation framework and online delivery system.

In addition to the University-wide and A&S divisional questions, some academic units include up to three additional questions. Instructors may choose to include up to three more questions chosen from a central question bank. Instructors will receive an email from the institution’s Course Evaluation Team prompting them to select these instructor-specific questions.

Important: Instructors are not permitted to assign marks for the completion of course evaluations or provide additional incentives or penalties.

The University of Toronto Provostial Guidelines on the Student Evaluation of Teaching in Courses states that, “in order to protect the integrity of the responses, it is a responsibility for all parties involved to ensure that neither penalties nor incentives are used. This includes, but is not limited to, grades, food, money, gift cards, prizes, and changes in course structure/assessments.”

To promote higher response rates, instructors can provide time in class for students to complete their course evaluations (preferably not at the end of class; instructors are not required to leave the room) and talk to their students about why course evaluations are important and how they use the results to modify their courses for future iterations. If the course is taught asynchronously online, instructors might consider making a short video to explain the importance of course evaluations.

Currently, course evaluation information and data are shared with divisions, academic administrators, instructors, and students through email and Quercus. Student comments and responses to instructor-selected questions are only shared with the instructor.

3.6 Dealing with Difficult Situations

Key Resources

U of T My Student Support Program — Instructors or staff can share information on mental health & well-being support from the MySSP site.

U of T Campus Safety

U of T Support for Responding to Distressed Students

Instructors may occasionally encounter students with disabilities who may have symptoms that can impact the learning environment.

Certain kinds of behaviour may be addressed in a private conversation outside of class. Instructors should frame the conversation as concern for the learning experience of other students, as the student in question may not realize how their behaviour is perceived by their peers.

However, if the behaviour is exceedingly disruptive, instructors may adjourn the class and consult with their Undergraduate Associate Chair or the Office of the Faculty Registrar. Instructors should contact the Director, High Risk, Faculty Support & Mental Health, in the Office of the Dean, if they have concerns about the student’s well-being. In addition, instructors can share information from U of T’s My Student Support Program website with their students.

Disruptive Behaviour During Class

The University has resources and policies to support instructors in handling disruptive student behaviour.

Important: If an instructor believes their safety is at risk, or fears for the safety of the other students and/or the disruptive student during a class, then they should end the class immediately and contact Campus Safety and/or 911 depending on the urgency of the situation.

They should also contact the Director of High Risk, Faculty Support & Mental Health and notify their Undergraduate Associate Chair or Director as soon as possible.

Disruptive Behaviour Outside the Classroom

If the behaviour occurs outside the classroom setting, instructors should alert their Undergraduate Associate Chair to it, and should not meet the student without another person present for greater safety and as a witness to the interaction, or at all. The Student Crisis Response team or Campus Safety will intervene as necessary to assist instructors and protect the learning environment in their course.

Important: Instructors do not have the authority to remove enrolled students from a course.


4. Assignments, Assessment, and Term Work

Term work includes any form of assessment used in a course except for the final exam. Other than the specific rules arising from Faculty or University policies, term work is an academic matter under the instructor’s purview. Instructors have wide flexibility in the way they manage term work, as opposed to final exams which are administered by the Faculty and governed by Faculty-level rules.

4.1 Marking Scheme

Instructors must provide their course marking scheme to their department (or equivalent unit or program) through the Course Information System (CIS) and submit it to the Undergraduate Administrator in their unit at the start of their course.

Instructors must include their marking scheme on their syllabus. This scheme should explicitly list:

  • methods of evaluation (assignments, tests, examinations, presentations, or other)
  • the relative weight of each item in the final course grade
  • the due date/timing of each item
  • the late penalty policy (if instructor intends to accept and apply penalties for late submissions)

Instructors should clearly state if the course will have a final exam in the Final Examination period.

If an instructor needs to change the methods of evaluation or their relative weight after they have been made known by the last date to enrol in the course, they must follow the rules set out in the section below Changing the Course Marking Scheme. To maintain a level of flexibility and responsiveness in the detail of assignments, instructors should consider providing thorough assignment descriptions to students over the course of the term, rather than providing full details in the syllabus.

Important: The marking scheme must be communicated to students at the start of the course, preferably no later than the end of the first week of classes and absolutely no later than the last date to add courses.

4.2 Changing the Course Marking Scheme

The institutional Grading Practices Policy (Part B, 1.3) states that, after the methods of evaluation (e.g., essays, tests, class participation, seminar presentations, or examinations) and their relative weights have been made known to the class, the instructor may not change them without the consent of a simple majority of students (more than 50%) attending the class, provided the vote is announced no later than in the previous class. For online asynchronous courses, a vote may be held online (e.g., through a Quercus survey) over a reasonable period (e.g., 3 or more days) after ensuring that advance notice has been given, and a simple majority of students who voted is needed as evidence of consent. Any changes must be reported to the academic unit sponsoring the course. The only exception to this is in the case of the declaration of a disruption.

Note: Instructors are advised to make these types of changes only out of necessity, ideally in consultation with the Associate Chair, Undergraduate, and with careful consideration of potential effects on students’ ability to plan and prepare for assessments in the course in question, as well as in their other courses.

4.3 Tutorials

A number of practices can help make tutorials more effective.


Instructors should:

  • Explicitly communicate to the students (and TAs) the goals for the tutorials within the context of the course. For example, supplementary to lectures, for review, discussion, new material, or skills training.
  • Articulate the connection between tutorials and the lecture material.
  • Consider communicating an objective for each tutorial session in relation to what is happening in the course/lecture.
  • Clarify and communicate the role of the TA, e.g., that they should be the first person a student contacts for re-marking, missed tests, or assignment extensions.

4.4 Assignment Modes & Weight

Important: The institutional Grading Practices Policy (Part B, Section 1.4.1) states that student performance must “be assessed on more than one occasion. No one essay, test, examination, etc. should have a value of more than 80% of the grade.”

Note: This aspect of the marking scheme does not restrict accommodations for individual students who have circumstances that justify an exception (see the section Student Support, Accessibility, and Accommodations).

Independent study or project courses are included under this rule: Some piece of work other than the main project must be marked and returned before the last date for students to drop the course. To maintain a level of flexibility and responsiveness in the detail of assignments, instructors should consider providing thorough assignment descriptions to students over the course of the term, rather than providing full details in the syllabus.

4.5 Assignment Due Dates and Return Deadlines

Timing of Assignment Due Dates

Important: Term work deadlines should occur within the term and not extend into the Final Examination Period.

A clear separation of term work from exam preparation allows students to best manage their time and their work. Instructors are permitted to grant informal extensions into the Final Examination Period, but initial or published deadlines should be set within the term.

Term work deadlines on weekends and/or at midnight can create challenges for students, given other demands on their time such as work and family obligations. If instructors decide such a deadline is necessary, they should give students sufficient lead time. Setting deadlines during regular University business hours can help promote work-life balance for instructors, teaching assistants, and students.

Note: By default, Quercus deadlines are set to 11:59 pm but can be changed to another time.

Deadlines for Returning Marked Assignments

The Grading Practices Policy (Part B, 1.5.1) states that instructors must return at least one piece of marked term work worth at least 10% of the final grade before the last date to drop the course.

Important: Faculty policy makes this requirement more specific: Instructors must return by the deadline one or more marked assignments worth a combined total of at least 10% of the total course mark for H courses and 20% for Y courses.

  • For regular half-courses, the deadline for returning such marked work is the last regularly scheduled class meeting prior to the Drop Date.
  • For courses that run the entire Fall/Winter Session (Y1Y or H1Y courses), the deadline is seven days after the start of the Winter term.
  • For courses that run the entire Summer Session (Y1Y or H1Y courses), the deadline is seven days following the resumption of classes in July.
  • For courses that do not meet regularly (e.g., asynchronous online courses, independent study courses) the deadline is one business day prior to the Drop Date, allowing students to access registrarial and advising supports, although additional time would be helpful to students.

This is a strict requirement with no exceptions. It is advisable that instructors plan for sufficient lead time in order for marking to be completed in time to meet the above requirements.

Instructors must notify their Associate Chair, Undergraduate (or equivalent) immediately if, due to extraordinary circumstances, they are unable to meet these deadlines.

In such cases, the students would normally be allowed to drop the course after their marked work has been returned, even if it is beyond the deadline. However, instructors are not obliged to meet this deadline where a student has been granted an extension or opportunity to write a make-up test.

Note: To allow their students to make more informed decisions, instructors should consider returning work totalling more than the required percentage to the students if possible.

Assignment Submission Policy

Instructors should describe their expectations regarding student submission of assignments in their course syllabus (e.g., digitally through Quercus or university email, in person, or in a lockbox at the departmental or unit office).

For submission of paper versions of assignments, many units have a protocol for students to submit assignments securely.

Word Count Limits

If an assignment, such as a term paper, has a word count limit, the consequences of exceeding the specified limit should be clearly stated in the assignment instructions. For example, “text beyond the word count limit will not be assessed.” Penalties for exceeding the limit (e.g., 5% per 100 words) are not recommended, as some students may interpret this as meaning that they are allowed to exceed the limit if they are willing to incur a penalty while others may not, which could create inequities in assessment.

4.6 Assignments and Term Tests during Reading Week

Important: No term tests (including weekly quizzes) should be scheduled during Reading Week (Saturday to the following Sunday, inclusive).

Reading Week provides students with the opportunity to catch up on their work, study, and take time to rejuvenate. As such, setting assignment deadlines during Reading Week is not recommended. However, if it is necessary to set an assignment deadline during Reading Week, assignment details and deadlines must be given to students at least two weeks prior to the start of Reading Week. This is in the best interest of providing students with sufficient planning time for this assignment in relation to Reading Week itself.

Note: In addition, instructors should refrain from delivering online course material or hosting class activities, either synchronously or asynchronously, during Reading Week.

Exemptions to this restriction on class activities include:

  • specialized course modules such as the International Course Module (ICM),
  • some experiential learning opportunities, and
  • field courses or research opportunities, including those that run for the duration of Reading Week

4.7 Missed Term Work

Academic Consideration for Legitimate Absences

It is helpful for instructors to have clear guidelines on excusable absences and any relevant documentation required of students in accordance with University policy and to communicate that clearly in the syllabus. Your policy should be applied consistently and fairly, but this does not mean you are not able to make exceptions in individual cases for legitimately exceptional circumstances.

It is the Faculty’s policy that students who miss classes, for legitimate reasons or otherwise, are responsible for making up the missed material and should not expect an instructor or TA to re-teach them the material.


A student who misses a test, lab or assignment deadline should come forward to the appropriate person in the course as soon as possible, and no later than one week after returning to class. Normally this means within one week of the test, lab, or deadline. However, the student’s reason for absence may extend beyond one week, and so the student is expected to come forward as soon as possible. If they are able to, the student should notify the instructor by email if the absence is extended in this way.

If the student does not come forward within one week, the instructor or the academic unit may consider a student request to extend the deadline or reweight other assessments but is under no obligation to do so. However, there may be exceptions to this in the case of accessibility or religious accommodations, or other documented reason (e.g., extended illness).


During the term, students who are absent from their studies and unable to complete course work should follow the missed term work policy outlined in the course syllabus. This policy will normally outline what a student should do if they miss a deadline, term test, or class activity such as a lab.

Instructor may indicate that documentation is required to support a student’s request for academic consideration (e.g., extension, make-up test, reweighting). The following are recognized forms of documentation:

  • Absence Declaration via ACORN
  • U of T Verification of Illness or Injury Form (VOI)
  • College Registrar's letter
  • Letter of Academic Accommodation from Accessibility Services

Any one of the above forms of recognized documentation should be considered sufficient on its own when requesting academic consideration. When provided, instructors should not ask for additional documentation or details beyond what is already in these documents. The following documentation should not be requested or accepted by instructors:

  • Detailed medical information beyond the Verification of Illness or Injury Form (VOI)
  • Letters from friends, parents, or other family members

For extended absences and for absences due to non-medical reasons, students may be in contact with their College Registrar’s office. The colleges can help students decide if they want to request an extension or seek other forms of academic consideration. College Registrar offices may email instructors directly to provide a College Registrar's letter of support and connect students with other helpful resources on campus.

If students suspect or know that they have a disability that is affecting their studies, they are encouraged to review supports available for A&S students through Accessibility Services. A disability can be physical, sensory, a learning disability, mental health disorder or short-term disabilities like injuries. If a student is not sure whether they have a disability, they can confidentially contact Accessibility Services with questions.

If students observe religious Holy Days that might conflict with academic activities (e.g., a class or test), they should visit U of T’s religious accommodations policy for more information.

4.8 Extensions and Late Term Work

Late Penalties

Instructors are not obliged to accept late work except where a student has a documented, legitimate reason for late submission (e.g., illness, accessibility accommodations). In such cases, an instructor may decide that reweighting of other assessments is more appropriate. If the work is accepted late, a late penalty is not appropriate for the period covered by documentation. For students without documentation, many instructors are willing to accept late work if a penalty is applied to the mark, but in order to do so, an instructor must publish their late penalty policy in the syllabus so students can guide themselves accordingly.

A clear extension/late penalty policy appropriate to the course, communicated to students on the syllabus and consistently applied, is a best practice. You are allowed wide latitude in how you handle this, subject only to the usual academic appeal standard of “equitable and reasonable.” It is helpful to connect these to your pedagogical objectives in the explanations you provide at the beginning of the course, particularly where there is an absolute deadline beyond which work will not be accepted, even with a penalty.

Exceptions can be made to course policy on extensions and penalties, for example for lateness beyond a student’s control. A student encountering trouble completing assignments may benefit from some advising from a College Registrar or from the Academic Success Centre. Feel free to make a referral if the student appears not to be handling their course work and deadlines well.

Extensions for Term Work after Classes End

Instructors have available to them an “informal extension period” they may use to grant individual students extensions beyond the last day of classes. You should normally limit such informal extensions to a date that allows you to still mark the work and submit your final course marks on time. In extraordinary circumstances, you may grant an additional informal extension up to five (5) business days after the end of the Final Exam Period. (When a term ends in December, the five-day count begins starting the first day the University re-opens in January.) Extensions beyond this date must be requested by a formal petition.

When you are submitting all your other course marks in cases where you have granted an informal extension beyond that point but before the last day to accept term work without petition, you should submit the student’s course mark with a 0% mark factored in for the missing piece. When you have later graded the work, you submit an amended mark reflecting the marked assignment using the Amended Marks function of the e-Marks system. Consult your Undergraduate Administrator about this procedure if necessary.

Note that instructors are under no obligation to grant such informal extensions. They are simply authorized to do so if they think an informal extension is warranted.

Extensions for Term Work after “Informal Extension Period”

If a student requires an extension beyond the five (5) business days after the end of the Final Examination Period, they MUST submit a formal petition through their College Registrar. Instructors do not have the authority to grant extensions beyond this deadline but may make a recommendation to their Associate Chair, Undergraduate (or equivalent) about the petition. Keep in mind that there may be dimensions to a student’s circumstances that are not known to an instructor, but which may come out in a petition or appeal. If a formal extension is granted after you have denied an informal one, it may be helpful to keep in mind that those deciding the request or appeal may have received more or different information from the student than information you have been provided.

4.9 Plagiarism Detection Tool

Key Resources

Plagiarism Detection (CTSI) — Instructors considering use of the University’s plagiarism detection tool should read the policies and conditions of use.

Generative Artificial Intelligence in the Classroom (CTSI)

ChatGPT and Generative AI in the Classroom (FAQ, Vice-Provost, Innovations in Undergraduate Education

The University holds a licence for a diagnostic tool that notes commonalities in phrasing between a student’s essay and other sources, which instructors may choose to use. It does not necessarily identify plagiarism and should be used in conjunction with the instructor’s own judgment.

Important: If an instructor intends to use the U of T plagiarism detection tool as their method for receiving written assignments, they must:

  • inform students of this at the beginning of the course
  • inform students that use of the tool is voluntary
  • provide alternate means of submitting assignments should a student not wish to use the plagiarism detection tool

Instructors must also include the following text in their syllabus:

“Normally, students will be required to submit their course essays to the University’s plagiarism detection tool for a review of textual similarity and detection of possible plagiarism. In doing so, students will allow their essays to be included as source documents in the tool’s reference database, where they will be used solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. The terms that apply to the University’s use of this tool are described on the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation website ("

4.10 Group Work & Peer Assessment

Group Work

Instructors should explicitly state the extent to which students can discuss and help one another on group projects or assignments. Clearly defined expectations about teamwork and the limits of collaboration are especially important to avoid issues in group work as well as when assessing outcomes.

General recommended practices include incorporating a mechanism for students to make an instructor aware of each group member’s contribution, which can then be factored into an individual student mark for the assignment. This may encourage students to make equal or similar contributions to the assignment and can help instructors in assigning marks that reflect each student’s effort.

Peer Assessment

Important: Marking is the responsibility of the instructor and the TAs under the supervision of instructors. In addition, grading and marking are tasks governed by labour contracts in the University, and so marking and assigning of grades should be reserved for instructors and TAs — the only two groups designated for this duty under these contracts.

Instructors may have students engage in “peer feedback” in their courses for formative purposes or to help develop skills in providing constructive feedback. However, students may not assign grades to other students’ work.

Important: Instructors must not use “peer marking,” where one student directly assigns another student a mark that contributes to the student’s course grade as part of the marking scheme.

Two steps should be taken to distinguish peer feedback clearly from peer marking:

  • It should be clearly titled “feedback,” and
  • it should take the form of non-mark feedback from the student (e.g., written comments) that will provide information to the student and possibly to the instructor.

4.11 Ethics Review for Student Projects

Important: Undergraduate course instructors must obtain ethics clearance, as required by policy, before students begin any assignment involving human participants (e.g., surveys, interviews, participant observations).

This policy includes assignments where other students, even in the same course, are the human participants.

Instructors will need to complete an Undergraduate Review Course Template Form and submit it to the appropriate Delegated Ethics Review Committee (DERC). Many academic units have their own such committee to expedite this process. Instructors should ask their Associate Chair, Undergraduate (or equivalent) for further details.

4.12 Returning Work

University policy states that “students should have access to commentary on assessed term work and the opportunity to discuss the assessment with the instructor” (Grading Practices Policy, Section 1.6).

Note: As a best practice, all term work should be returned within two weeks of the submission date (at most). Instructors should inform students if additional time to complete marking is needed. The longer the gap between submission and provision of feedback, the less useful that feedback will be to students.

Instructors should also consider when they plan to release marks, keeping in mind that doing so on evenings and weekends gives students little opportunity to seek out supports.

Instructors should note:

  • Assignments are the property of the students and must be returned to them in an appropriately secure manner. However, materials produced by the instructor and provided to students to complete an assignment remain the intellectual property of the instructor.
  • Under no circumstances should instructors leave term work outside an office or at the front of the classroom to be picked up by students, as this violates privacy considerations.
  • Privacy considerations also dictate that instructors and TAs should not indicate the student’s grade on the cover sheet of the assignment, instead placing it inside where it is not visible to others.
  • Instructors should advise students to retain all returned assignments until the course is complete and they are satisfied the final course mark has been calculated correctly.
  • Unclaimed assignments should be retained for one year following the completion of the current academic session, after which time they should be destroyed (e.g., shredded).

4.13 Requests to Re-Mark Term Work

Matters concerning term work (e.g., requests to re-mark assignments or tests) normally fall within the authority of the instructor and are typically handled through an “academic appeal,” as opposed to matters that deal with A&S rules and regulations (e.g., final exams, extensions beyond the last day of the course, and late withdrawals), which are handled through a “petition.

Academic appeals related to term work marks are not a subject for petitions, and instructors should establish standard internal re-marking procedures and set expectations for their students to prevent frivolous or blanket requests. If the issue cannot be resolved at the instructor level, it may be escalated through the “academic appeal” process described below.

Note: This process applies only to term work; appeals for rereads of final examinations are handled directly by the Office of the Faculty Registrar.

Instructor Level

  • A student who believes an individual item of work has been incorrectly or unfairly marked may ask the person who marked it for a re-evaluation. If a TA originally marked the work, the re-marking request should first go to the TA. Any appeal of that re-marking should then go to the course instructor.
  • Such a request entails a re-marking of the work. Hence, if a re-marking is granted, the student must accept the resulting mark as the new mark, whether it goes up or down or remains the same. Continuing with the re-mark or the appeal means the student accepts this condition.
  • Students should make such requests as soon as reasonably possible after receiving the work back, but no later than 2 weeks after it was returned.
  • Instructors and TAs should ensure all communication with the student is in writing (e.g., follow-up email) and retain a copy for future reference.

Academic Unit Level

  • If an instructor refuses to re-mark a piece of work, or if the student is not satisfied with the re-marking that has been granted, they may appeal to the Associate Chair, Undergraduate (or equivalent) of the course’s sponsoring unit or program.
  • An appeal of a mark beyond the instructor may only be made for an item worth at least 20% of the course mark.
  • Such appeals must be made in writing as soon as possible after the student receives the final response from the instructor, but no later than 2 weeks after the work was returned, explaining why the student believes the mark was inappropriate and summarizing all previous communications of the matter.
  • Again, the student must accept that the mark resulting from the appeal may be higher or lower or the same as the original mark.
  • In the appeal, the student must submit an explanation of the perceived problem, along with the original test answer sheet or the original copy of the essay and the assigned topic.
  • If the Associate Chair, Undergraduate (or equivalent) believes a re-marking is justified, they will then select an independent reader who will be given a clean, anonymous copy of the work. The reader will not be made aware of the originally assigned mark and will determine a mark for the work taking into account the context of the course for which it was submitted.
  • If this new recommended mark differs substantially from the original mark, the Associate Chair, Undergraduate (or equivalent) shall determine a new mark, taking both marks into account.

Decanal Level

  • The final level of appeal is to the Office of the Dean. Appeals must already have been considered at the two previous levels, with the decision reviewed by the head of the academic unit, before they will be considered by the Dean’s Office.
  • Appeals must be submitted in writing, and include all previous correspondence, as soon as possible after the student receives the final response from the academic unit, but no later than 2 weeks after.
  • Appeals to the Dean’s Office about the marking of term work will be reviewed to ensure that appropriate procedures have been followed in earlier appeals, that the student has been treated fairly, and that the standards applied have been consistent with those applied to other students doing the assignment. The Dean’s Office cannot assess the academic merit of the work in question.
  • Any mark resulting from such an appeal will become the new mark, whether it is higher or lower or the same as the previous one.


5. Term Tests

The Faculty has specific rules governing how term tests may be scheduled and administered in courses. This section will cover those rules, as well as information on make-up tests, invigilation, etc.

5.1 Term Test Scheduling and Weights

To the extent possible, instructors should hold term tests during normally-scheduled class hours to prevent conflicts with students’ other obligations and other colleagues’ courses.

Important: Term tests must be scheduled within the term, between the first and last day of classes.

  • Term tests may not be scheduled during the Study Period that occurs after the end of classes and that precedes the beginning of the Final Examination Period.
  • Term tests (i.e., an element of the term mark and administered by the instructor or TAs) may not be scheduled in the Final Examination Period. Examinations during the Final Exam Period must be administered by A&S according to the rules for Final Exams. The one exception to this rule is for Y courses where an instructor may want to schedule a term test in the December (or for summer Y, June) Examination Period. UG Administrators should contact the Faculty Registrar’s Exams Office to have such a test included in the December (or June) Exam Schedule.
  • Term tests may not be scheduled during Fall or Winter Reading Week.
  • Term tests may be held on the A&S Make-Up Day, which is an extra teaching day in lieu of classes missed for holidays that fall on the same day of the week that your class is normally scheduled. The make-up class should be held during the same time as your regular class since students may have other make-up classes (possibly with tests as well) on that day. Make-Up Days are specified in the Faculty’s Academic Dates & Deadlines. If you intend to make use of a Make-Up Day, be sure to include this in your syllabus, so that students know well in advance that they are expected to attend class on that day.

Tests for online meeting sections that are synchronous should take place to the normally-schedule class time.

Scheduling Term Tests Outside of Class Hours

There are only three reasons the Dean’s Office accepts as legitimate grounds for holding tests outside of regular class hours:

  1. A multi-sectioned course requires a common testing time to administer a common test.
  2. The regularly scheduled classroom is not an adequate testing space, and no other suitable room is available at that time.
  3. The test in question is a make-up test.

If necessity requires that a test be scheduled outside the normal meeting hours of one or all of the course’s sections, instructors should announce such test dates and times at the beginning of the course (or as early as possible) to allow students time to make arrangements to accommodate this extra obligation.

Instructors may request classroom or testing space through their Undergraduate Administrator or Associate Chair, Undergraduate (or equivalent), who can make appropriate arrangements with the Office of the Faculty Registrar (OFR).

Scheduling Conflicts with Tests Held Outside of Class Hours

Important: For any scheduling conflict between a test held outside of normal class hours and a required obligation for a regularly scheduled class, the latter takes precedence (this includes test, lecture, tutorial, and lab time).

The course with the irregularly scheduled test must accommodate the student in an appropriate way that does not conflict with the student’s other academic obligations.

Note: The instructor with the irregularly scheduled test should be responsible for negotiating any arrangement that includes the instructor of the regularly scheduled course; this should not be left to the student.

Tests/Assignments During the Final Two Weeks of Classes

Important: No term test or combination of term tests having a value greater than 25% of the final mark may be held in the final two weeks of term — Fall, Winter, or Summer. This includes "take-home tests" (whether online or in person) and assignments or essays where the topics or questions are both assigned and due within the last two weeks of classes. However, instructors may collect an assignment worth more than 25% in the last 2 weeks of term, provided that it was assigned before the final two weeks.

5.2 Test Administration and Invigilation

Instructors are responsible for printing test materials and coordinating with their academic unit’s Undergraduate Administrator for other materials, such as Scantrons, student signature sheets, etc.

Important: Instructors are also responsible for ensuring that Accommodated Testing Services have a copy of the test should one be required by Accessibility Services.

Test Invigilation

Instructors are responsible for proctoring their own tests. If the course has TAs, then TAs may also assist in invigilating. Engaging TAs can be especially helpful in large rooms or when the class is spread out across multiple rooms. Instructors and/or TAs should bring the test materials into the test room and should collect and bring the materials out of the room at the end of the test.

Note: Instructors are encouraged to plan contingencies in advance in case of emergencies such as a fire alarm, a disruptive or ill student, a temporary external disruption, or a power failure. Advance planning helps to handle the emergency in an orderly way by minimizing the opportunities for collusion or copying. Instructors should share any contingency plans with the course TAs, especially if it is a large course and TAs will be assisting in proctoring.

5.3 Missed Test Policy & Make-up Tests

Pedagogical best practice suggests that regular assessment and meaningful feedback are conducive to learning, and so a situation where too much of a student’s final mark is based on the final exam is to be avoided. Where possible, an opportunity to write a make-up test should be provided to students who miss a term test for legitimate reasons.

As the Faculty expects these best practices to inform most situations, it has formulated its make-up test rules in the form of general principles with specific exceptions:

General Principles for Make-up Tests

  • If a student misses a test for reasons acceptable to the instructor, a make-up opportunity should be offered to the student.
  • Where either the student’s circumstances or the instructor’s difficulty in composing/implementing an effective test makes a make-up test unreasonable, the instructor may allocate the percentage weight of the test to any combination of the remaining term work and/or the final exam.
  • If the student misses the remaining term work/tests for reasons acceptable to the instructor, the full percentage weight of the missed work may be allocated to the final exam if no other option is available. Consideration should be given to how this will impact the weighting for the final exam, and students should be referred to their College Registrar if this re-weighting results in an exam weight over 50%.
  • No student is automatically entitled to a second make-up test opportunity.

Exceptions for Make-up Tests

  • If a missed term test is the only marked work in the course aside from the final exam, an initial make-up opportunity must be given.
  • As an initial accommodation for a legitimate absence, the weight of a final exam in a 100-series course may not be reweighted beyond 80%. However, if a student misses a make-up opportunity that was re-weighted to accommodate their original missed test, then the weight of the final exam may be increased beyond 80%.
  • If the weight of a final exam in any course is increased beyond 80%, the instructor should ensure the student receives support around academic planning, referring them to their College Registrar for advising.

Important: Instructors should also clearly state whether students will be required to take a make-up test or whether the instructor will re-weight term marks in the event of a missed test.

A student who misses a test, lab, or assignment deadline should notify the appropriate person in the course as soon as possible. For example, in courses with more than one instructor, students should be told in the syllabus which instructor to contact should they miss a test or assignment deadline for legitimate reasons.

Instructors should advise students to discuss re-weighted exams with their College Registrar if the re-weighting results in a weight of over 50% of any one remaining assignment or final exam.


6. Final Examinations

Key Resource

Faculty Final Exams and Rules for the Conduct of Examinations — Information on the A&S Calendar pertaining to administering Faculty Final Exams, and rules for student conduct for examinations.

6.1 Final Exams

Faculty Final Exams are formal examinations held within the Final Examination Period after classes finish, which are scheduled, conducted, and invigilated by the Faculty through the Office of the Faculty Registrar (OFR).

Important: Instructors must indicate in their syllabus whether a course includes a Final Exam.

The Grading Practices Policy (Section 1.7.1) states that normally “in courses that meet regularly as a class, there should be an examination (or examinations) conducted formally under divisional auspices.”

Important: The policy allows for divisional implementation, and the A&S Faculty implements it as follows:

  • All 100-level courses (except First-Year Foundation seminars and College One courses) must have a Faculty-run final examination, and that examination must carry a weight of at least 1/3 (and not more than 2/3) of the final mark.
  • Courses at the 200 level normally have final examinations.
  • Courses at the 300/400-level often have final examinations, but many units have decided that this is not necessary or appropriate for some of these courses.

Final Examination Exemptions

The processes for attaining exemptions for final exam requirements for a course are as follows:

  • Exemptions for 100-level Final Exams may be requested by the academic unit to the Dean’s Office via the Office of the Faculty Registrar.
  • Exemptions in 200-level courses are decided within the academic unit. Instructors should contact their Associate Chair, Undergraduate (or equivalent) for unit-specific policy.
  • Exemptions are not required for 300/400-level courses; the decision to have a final exam is left to the instructor’s discretion.

In general, instructors should consult their Associate Chair, Undergraduate (or equivalent) on unit practices and expectations for exams in courses above the 100-level.

Final Examination Weighting & Duration

As mentioned above, final exams for 100-level courses must carry a weight of at least 1/3 (and not more than 2/3) of the final mark.

The weighting of final exams in 200+series courses is a pedagogical matter for the instructor to decide; however, instructors are asked to consider whether a Faculty final exam with a very small weight is worth the cost of administering it.

Important: For scheduling reasons, all Faculty final exams must be either 2 or 3 hours in duration.

Specifications for Final Exams

The Faculty uses a standard cover sheet for final exams specifying essential information, which is available through each unit's Undergraduate Administrator.

Instructors should specify what manner of “aids” are permitted in the final exam, if any (i.e., none, dictionaries, specific calculators, etc.), and consult their Undergraduate Associate Chair (or Coordinator) regarding any other issues or questions they may have about final exam specifications. Note: laptops are not an allowable “aid.”

Final Examination Period

Instructors may not schedule their own tests or “exams” during this Final Examination Period, even take-home tests. The only exams and the few exceptional term tests that may be scheduled into the Final Exam Period are those scheduled by the OFR. The OFR must have at its disposal the schedules of all students and all classrooms to make the complex exam scheduling process work. There are no exceptions to this prohibition.

Student Absences or “Exemptions”

Important: Instructors and units cannot excuse a student from writing a final exam, nor can they offer an alternative date, form, or mode of examination (e.g., oral examination, or adding an online version to an already scheduled in-person exam).

Students requesting accessibility-related accommodations must arrange these through Accommodated Testing Services (ATS). Students requesting accommodations based on religion or creed should submit a final exam conflict form before the specified deadline. Students reporting other reasons for not being able to write a scheduled final exam should be directed to their College Registrar's Office for advice on the petitions process for final exams. Best practice, especially in first-year courses, suggests that instructors remind students of the rules and procedures regarding missed examinations in class prior to the Exam Period. This is best done by including a link to the Final Exam Information for Arts & Science.

6.2 Final Exam Texts: Preparation & Deadlines

Key Resource

Course Information System (CIS) — Instructors must submit Final Examination details for each of their courses under the appropriate tab in CIS.

The Office of the Faculty Registrar sets a firm deadline for final exam question papers to be submitted to the Undergraduate Administrator in each unit. The deadline for submitting the final exam question paper through the Course Information System (CIS) is usually several weeks before the final exam. Although the deadline may seem early, it accounts for the time needed to print, assemble, and distribute copies of the exam, including to offices responsible for students writing in accommodated settings, at outside examination centers, or writing within the exam conflict room. If the deadline causes unusual pedagogical issues in a course, instructors should consult their Undergraduate Administrator.

It is essential that course instructors proofread their exam question papers carefully. Staff do not have the specialized knowledge to identify errors in content. Typographical errors or miscues may create confusion for students during an exam, because instructors may not be available to answer questions for students writing an exam in accommodated settings, at outside test centers, or in a conflict room with the Office of the Faculty Registrar. If an instructor detects an error after their final exam text has been submitted, they should notify their Undergraduate Administrator immediately.

6.3 Publication of Exams & “Restricted Exams”

Important: Section 2.1 of the University Assessment and Grading Practices Policy requires “all divisions/faculties [to] provide access to copies of the previous years’ final examination papers and other years’ papers where feasible.”

A&S shares final exam question papers through the University of Toronto Libraries Exam Repository for the benefit of students in future offerings of the course, in accord with the policy. This is a secure U of T site, where exams are stored for three years and then purged.

Note: Exam question papers are not forwarded to the Library for posting until the subsequent Deferred Exam session has passed, i.e., Fall/Winter exams are not posted until the following October, and Summer exams are not posted until the following April.

Restricted Exams

If an instructor has a strong rationale for not wanting their exam question paper to be posted on the U of T Library Exam Repository, they can select the appropriate option in the Course Information System (CIS).

Restricted exams follow a different set of procedures. All copies of the exam papers are collected from students and counted at the end of the exam, to ensure the protection of the exam questions.

Note: If students do not have access to past final exam papers from the instructor or through the Library, instructors should find an alternate way to provide them with sample questions in order to help them prepare for final exams. For example, sample questions can be provided in class, through tutorials and/or through Quercus.

Students are still able to see their completed exam papers. However, students will only be able to view their final exam papers in a supervised viewing session within 6 months of the final exam session, and the exam paper will not be posted in the Exam Repository.

6.4 Invigilation of Faculty Final Exams

Faculty Final Examinations are supervised by Chief Presiding Officers (CPOs), who are hired by the Faculty and trained specifically for this purpose. CPOs have final authority over logistics and process in the exam rooms, even if the course instructor is present.

Important: Course instructors, or someone with designated authority over the content of the exam, must be in the exam hall or within contact to resolve any issues or questions for the CPO. CPOs are explicitly instructed by the Exams Office to not answer students’ questions about the content of exams. Instructors are strongly encouraged to provide contact information (e.g., cell phone number) so that, if they are not present during the exam, or if a student is writing at an alternate location, the instructor can be reached if a student has a question. The contact information is considered confidential and will not be shared or used for any other purpose.

6.5 Required Minimum Exam Mark

Although it is unusual, it is permissible for instructors to require a minimum mark on a final examination for a student to pass their course, regardless of the other term work marks. The highest minimum mark instructors may require on such a final examination is 50%. This requirement should only be used when there are relevant pedagogical principles at play; for example, when the final exam is cumulative and earlier assessments were not, and the exam is worth a substantial percentage of the course mark.

Important: If instructors have a minimum exam mark requirement, it must be published in the syllabus and included in the Marking Scheme.

6.6 Marking & Rereading of Failing Exams

Since students can request to review copies of their final exams, and can query how examination marks were arrived at, instructors should indicate what the mark is for each question (either on the front cover or next to each question) on an exam. This grading recommendation helps ensure marking accuracy and can save instructor time in the event of a request for a reread. Upon completion of marking final exams, the instructor is responsible for sorting and providing the exam materials to their Undergraduate Administrator to give to the Office of the Faculty Registrar. Final exams must be stored by the Office of the Faculty Registrar.

Rereading of Failing Exams

Important: The Faculty requires that all failing exams be reread at the time of marking, i.e., before the marks are reported. The Faculty must be able to prove that this has been done, and so the examiner must write “reread” on the cover of the answer book and sign it.

If the examination, or part of it, was marked by a TA, best practice says that the course instructor should do the reread.

6.7 Marking Deadlines

Instructors are required to complete marking of their final exams in a timely manner in order to submit recommended final course marks via eMarks for academic unit approval by the unit and/or eMarks deadline. Timelines for returning bundled marked in-person exams to the Office of the Faculty Registrar will be circulated to Undergraduate Administrators in a memo.

Instructors will receive separate exam booklets for marking from students who have written their final exams through alternative arrangements such as with Test & Exam Services.

Submitting marks in a timely manner is essential to the Office of the Faculty Registrar’s ability to assess students’ academic status or approve them for graduation. Instructors who have extenuating circumstances preventing them from meeting the marks submission deadline should contact their Undergraduate Administrator.


7. Final Course Marks, Petitions, and Appeals

7.1 Grades, Grading Scales, and GPAs

Key Resources

eMarks — eMarks is the University’s grade submission system for instructors.

Grading and Course Marks (A&S Calendar) — The Faculty of Arts & Science's most current information on rules and regulations.

Grading Scale

The Faculty uses a 4.0 grading scale with each letter grade range having a defined meaning, as follows:

Percentage Grade GPA Value Grade Definition
90-100 A+ 4.0 Excellent
85-89 A 4.0 Excellent
80-84 A- 3.7 Excellent
77-79 B+ 3.3 Good
73-76 B 3.0 Good
70-72 B- 2.7 Good
67-69 C+ 2.3 Adequate
63-66 C 2.0 Adequate
60-62 C- 1.7 Adequate
57-59 D+ 1.3 Marginal
53-56 D 1.0 Marginal
50-52 D- 0.7 Marginal
0-49 F 0.0 Inadequate


7.2 Percentages, Letter Grades & GPAs

Important: Instructors are required to submit all final marks for undergraduate courses in a percentage format.

If graduate students are enrolled in a course, eMarks will automatically convert their marks to letter grades.

While instructors submit marks in percentages, the grade that is used in calculating GPA and determining the student’s academic status is the letter grade corresponding to that percentage. “Percentage averages” form no real part of the Faculty marks scheme. From an instructor’s perspective, this means that 80% and 84% are essentially the same mark, but 84% and 85% are very different marks. Truly exceptional performance, i.e., 90+%, is displayed as an A+ on the student’s record but has the same GPA weight as an A. The fact that this grade has no additional GPA value should not discourage instructors from awarding it when the student’s outstanding performance indicates it would be appropriate.

7.3 Marks Distribution Guidelines

The Faculty has broad guidance on what might normally be expected in courses of different sizes and at different levels. This is contained in a Tri-Campus Deans’ memo (2009) best quoted directly:

“For a larger first- or second-year course, the proportion of As in any given offering of the course might reasonably vary from 15% to 35%. Courses with marks consistently at the lower or upper end of this range should be reviewed to determine whether changes are needed to the course content, prerequisites, or assessment mechanisms. At the other end of the scale, the proportion of Fs in a first- or second-year course should generally not exceed 10%.

“These guidelines can help instructors gauge the fairness and consistency of their proposed marks in a course. Instructors proposing a percentage of As outside the range of 15-35% in first- and second-year courses should review the marks to ensure that the assessments used in the course were fair and consistent with disciplinary practice. Similarly, instructors proposing a percentage of Fs greater than 10% should consider those grades carefully. An individual instructor should reflect on whether the assessments have been scaled appropriately. A unit head seeing a consistently higher percentage of Fs in a course over time might conclude that the course has inappropriate prerequisites or requires some restructuring, or that additional student supports need to be put into place.

“Since courses with fewer than 40 students, as well as courses in upper years, show much greater variation due to individual factors, detailed expectations of distributions of grades are less useful. However, we can state some general guidelines on third- and fourth-year courses. Specifically, we expect student marks in upper year courses to shift towards the higher end of the scale (with more As and many fewer failures) as students adjust to university-level work and as they pursue courses in their chosen areas of interest. Distributions with 30-40% As (or even more) would not be unusual in 300- and 400-level courses, while even 5-10% Fs at these levels would be worthy of attention.”

7.4 Bell Curves, Quotas, and Calibrating Raw Scores

The University does not restrict or limit the number or percentage of students who can attain any given course grade, or otherwise enforce a specified distribution of marks.

Important: Both University (U of T Grading Practices Policy, Section 3.4.2) and Faculty policies explicitly prohibit arbitrary limits on the number or percentage of students that can receive any given course grade.

The Faculty policy as noted in the Calendar states that “Marks, as an expression of the instructor’s best judgment of each student’s overall performance, will not be determined by any system of quotas.”

Calibrating Raw Scores

Instructors, especially those who are new, teaching a new course, or have undertaken significant course redesign, may want to consider monitoring grades on a regular basis or, at a minimum, analyzing grades at the mid-term point of a course and, if issues are identified, reaching out to their academic unit to discuss possible solutions and adjustments.

Note: A score is the raw number of points a student earns on an assessment.

A mark is the result of calibration that accounts for the difficulty of the testing instrument or the variation of marking standards among different TAs.

Calibration is an acceptable and responsible practice to ensure fairness in marking.

Calibration of test scores should be done fairly and bear a clear relationship to academic performance. While calibration may include the use of a mathematical method such as linear adjustment, (e.g., adding the same number of marks to all scores or multiplying a score by a single value for all students), this is not the same thing as adjusting marks in order to meet a pre-determined distribution, such as a bell curve, or any other set quota of marks in different ranges, which is not allowed. Calibration, however, need not require a linear modification, but can still be done in a way that is unrelated to meeting a specified distribution of marks. To avoid misconceptions on the part of students, instructors and TAs who calibrate or adjust marks should avoid using the terms “belling” or “curving” marks, even if students use these terms, as this may be interpreted as adjusting marks to meet a quota or other predetermined distribution.

Best Practices in Calibrating Scores Include:

  • Providing regular feedback to students through marked work, properly calibrated and adequately explained.
  • Making adjustments to marks assignment-by-assignment rather than to the entire term mark at the end. Students should have an accurate and ongoing understanding of their performance relative to the official grading scale.
  • Explaining or contextualizing mark calibration to students so they can interpret feedback appropriately. While it is important that TAs understand the grading policies, decisions about score calibration and methods, and subsequent communication to students, should be done by the instructor to help ensure consistency.
  • Conducting comparison marking (benchmarking) when training TAs.
  • Giving particular attention to students who receive a failing mark, especially those in the “marginal failure” range, to ensure the mark is a complete and fair reflection of overall performance.
  • Optionally, leaving some portion of the course mark as an “overall assessment mark” (including, for example, class contributions), allowing instructors to incorporate the quality of students’ individual effort and engagement in the course. Keep in mind that instructors must be able to explain such a mark to a student upon request.
  • Using a standardized marking rubric and calibration procedure.
  • Taking into account past average course grades, the size of the sample, and other relevant factors.

7.5 Interpreting Marks: “What is an A?”

The A&S Calendar gives official definitions for letter grades, as in the Grading Scale table above: A = Excellent, B = Good, etc. These phrases offer helpful guidance when you are considering adjusting term assessments or recommended final marks. The University and the Faculty allow a great deal of latitude to our instructors in determining what level of performance in their particular courses corresponds to these rubrics, subject only to the official review process described below.

When reviewing your marks during and at the end of your course, it is helpful to keep in mind these considerations, among others:

  • Course level: Assessment of students’ demonstrated mastery of material should be calibrated to the level of the course. The relevant question is “Does this student demonstrate a command of what one might reasonably expect from a student at the introductory stage, the advanced stage, etc.?”
  • Overall performance: Consider whether the letter grade corresponding to the calculated percentage mark appropriately reflects the student’s performance in the course as a whole. For example, it may be that the calculated numerical percentage mark falls just below 80%, but the student has performed above that level on many of the assignments and below on only a few. Does the overall performance merit a designation of “Excellent”? If so, you should feel justified in raising the final mark to indicate this. Note that it is more problematic to move final marks down, especially when a strict calculation puts it at 50% or just above. If your overall assessment conflicts with the numerical calculation, you might look at the various individual elements or at the discretionary margin you have allowed in your marking scheme to see whether some adjustment is warranted.

When reviewing the performance and final marks of the highest scoring students in a course, particularly in a class of some size, you may wish to keep in mind both the A and A+ designations, so that excellence is clearly signaled with an A, and the outstanding students have an outstanding mark visible to all as an A+.

7.6 Marks Just Under Grade Thresholds

On the Faculty grading scale, there are some percentage marks where one more percent would have an impact on a student’s GPA. Some of the more significant ones are 49%, 59%, 69%, 79% and 84%. Another threshold may be the line a unit has established for entrance into limited enrolment programs. You may want to give special attention to marks just below these thresholds as they are often contentious, and you may expect to hear from a number of students who receive such marks. That said, there is no Faculty policy or practice to automatically “round up” such marks, and you should not feel pressured to do so. However, you may wish to decide intentionally whether to leave a mark just under one of these thresholds or to adjust it.

7.7 Failing Marks

As mentioned in the section Rereading of Failing Exams regarding rereading exams with failing marks, instructors should give some attention to those students who receive a failing course mark, especially those in the “marginal failure” range, in order to ensure the mark is a complete and fair reflection of overall performance.

7.8 Entering Final Course Marks

When preparing final marks, if some elements of a student’s work remain incomplete, enter a mark of 0% for any missing element and then calculate and submit the final mark accordingly. Do not leave the final mark blank for incomplete work or put in a final course grade of 0% (unless nothing has been assessed) or try to signal “incomplete” or some other non-percentage element. Note in the appropriate place in your records what elements are missing and whether any informal extensions were given before the end of the course (and provide it to your Undergraduate Administrator if that is the practice in your unit). This information will be valuable should the student petition later. Also, should a petition for an extension beyond the course be granted and the student still does not complete the work, a correct default final mark will be available on the record without the need for further action on your part.

If a student has an outstanding allegation of academic misconduct that is being reviewed, the same protocol applies. That is, use a mark of 0% only for the assignment being reviewed, not for the entire course mark, and calculate and submit the final mark using the remaining completed portions.

7.9 Marks for Incomplete or Outstanding Work

Incomplete/Outstanding Term Work

Instructors may have students in their courses with outstanding or incomplete assignments at the end of the term.

The final mark for a student should be calculated based on all completed work, using mark entries of 0% for any missing assignments. Grade amendments that update the final mark for sanctioned late assignments can be entered into eMarks at a later date.

Instructors should note any missing assignments in their records, along with information about any informal extensions provided. This information will be valuable should the student submit a petition at a later date.

In submitting the final mark, instructors:

  • should not leave the final mark blank for incomplete work
  • should not enter a final course grade of 0% (unless nothing has been assessed)
  • should not try to signal “incomplete” or some other non-percentage value

Outstanding Allegation of Academic Misconduct

If a student has an outstanding allegation of academic misconduct, the same protocol applies as for missing work. Instructors should put in a 0% only for the assignment being reviewed, not for the entire course mark, and calculate and submit the final mark using the remaining completed portions. The student’s record will show a grade of No Grade Available (NGA) or Grade Withheld Pending Review (GWR) until the allegation is resolved.

7.10 Marks Review Process

Key Resource

University Assessment and Grading Practices Policy — The University’s Assessment and Grading Practices Policy sets out the principles and key elements that should characterize the assessment and grading of student work in for‐credit programming at the University of Toronto.

The Dean is ultimately responsible for all marks in the Faculty of Arts & Science.

The University Assessment and Grading Practices Policy (GPP) and the Faculty’s procedures outline a review and approval process for all final marks.

Important: Under no circumstances may instructors release final marks to students before they have gone through this approval process and been posted on ROSI/ACORN by the Office of the Faculty Registrar.

This means that, if an instructor plans to add the “overall assessment” portion, “participation mark,” or the final exam mark to the Quercus grade book and then open it for viewing by students, this must not be done until after they have received confirmation from their Associate Chair, Undergraduate or Administrator that the final course marks have been approved and released to students on ROSI/ACORN.

Marks Review Process at the Unit-Level

Each Fall, the Undergraduate Associate Chair and/or a committee in each academic unit reviews all the marks from the previous few years to determine whether the marking practices of the unit’s instructors are meeting the unit’s and the Faculty’s goals, and whether the marks distributions point to any problems in the design of the curriculum. Problems with marking practices or curriculum may then be addressed during the academic year.

Marks Review Process at the Course-Level

  1. At the end of each course, all instructors submit their recommended final marks to the head of the academic unit for review and approval. Instructors are not required to write a pre-emptive memo explaining any given set of marks.
  2. The head of the unit (or an appropriate academic delegate such as the UG Coordinator or Undergraduate Associate Chair) reviews these recommended marks in the context of the nature of the course and the unit’s marking practices.
  3. Should the unit head find the recommended marks anomalous in some way, they may contact the instructor for further information and discussion. The Grading Practices Policy (Section 3.3) specifically states that the head of the unit has the authority to adjust the recommended marks before approving them, but that any adjustment of final grades should be made in consultation with the instructor.
  4. Once the head of the unit approves a set of marks, it is sent on to the Office of the Faculty Registrar for divisional review and approval on behalf of the Dean. The Dean’s Office does have the authority to adjust recommended marks before finally approving and posting them on ROSI/ACORN as official final course grades. However, it is the Faculty’s practice to first engage in consultation and discussion when dealing with apparently anomalous course marks.
  5. Where marks have been adjusted before their approval, both the students and the instructor shall be notified of the change and provided (upon request) with the reason for the adjustment, the methodology used, and a description of the divisional grades appeal process.

Important: Given this review process and the fact that marks are not official until approved and posted on ROSI/ACORN, instructors may not release “recommended” or provisional final marks to students. Again, this means instructors should not display all elements of the recommended final mark including the final exam mark for viewing by students on Quercus. Students should be told to check ACORN for their official final marks. However, after the final marks have been officially released to students, you may consider posting any remaining assessment grades (e.g., final exam or participation marks) to Quercus and/or providing them to students upon request, as they should be able to see all of the grades that were used to calculate their final mark.

7.11 Course Records and Marks Protocol

Key Resource

A&S Teaching & Learning (T&L) Team — The T&L team can assist instructors with backing-up grade books on Quercus or similar databases.

Backing-up Course Records and Marks

Instructors that use an electronic marks record, such as the Quercus grade book, should regularly back up this information offline and also save an additional copy at the end of the course.

Important: At the end of the course, instructors should retain a complete copy of their records for the course and return a complete copy of the grade book to the academic unit.

  • Later appeals, petitions or disciplinary proceedings may require specific information about a student’s participation or performance in a course.
  • Records should be as complete as possible and contain at least the number and type of required assignments, in addition to the weighting and the actual marks given for them.
  • Class records must not be destroyed at the end of the year but kept by the instructor or Undergraduate Administrator for a minimum of one year, and preferably two years.

Collecting & Maintaining Assignment/Test Marks

Important: Instructors are responsible for having the most up-to-date version of their course’s term marks in their possession at all times.

TAs may mark assignments and update a marks database, but the course instructor should keep the primary copy throughout the course and collect assignment marks from TAs as soon as they become available (and not wait until the end of the course).

If using a grade book function on Quercus or some other database for marks, instructors should make back-up copies regularly and keep them separate from the primary copy.

7.12 Explaining Test & Assignment Marks

Note: Instructors should elaborate on the significance of numerical marks in class or on the syllabus, for the benefit of students who may not be familiar with that system of evaluation. Individualized commentary and feedback, where possible, enhances a student’s ability to evaluate their performance.

If circumstances do not permit individualized commentary on assessments, instructors should provide general information to the class, such as:

  • basic statistical metrics about class performance, such as the mean, median, and/or distribution
  • plain-language interpretation of the different zones on the marking scale
  • whether the test or assignment was designed to be particularly challenging or basic
  • mark ranges that indicate a student should seek help or is performing especially well

7.13 Formal Appeals: Definitions

The Faculty allows students two types of formal appeals: “academic appeals” and “petitions.”

Academic Appeals

Important: For matters pertaining to the internal workings of a course during the term (e.g., requests to re-mark term work), students follow the process of an “academic appeal.”


Important: For matters that deal with A&S rules and regulations or other matters that go beyond the term or the purview of the instructor (e.g., A&S-scheduled final exams, extensions beyond the last day of the course, Late Withdrawal, etc.), students should submit a petition.

The most common petitions relate to:

  • deferring or re-deferring a final exam
  • asking to re-write a final exam (when a student has fallen ill during an exam and needs to stop writing)
  • a term work extension beyond five days after the end of the term
  • late withdrawal without academic penalty
  • a lift or early return from suspension

Students should, in all cases, contact their College Registrar’s Office for guidance in navigating petitions and academic appeals.


8. Academic Integrity

The preferred approach to academic integrity (AI) at the University is prevention. Course and assignment design, careful handling of assessments, and perhaps use of the University’s plagiarism detection tool are all techniques one might use to lead students toward good outcomes.

8.1 Academic Integrity Rules

Key Resource

Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters — The Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters is the University of Toronto’s primary set of rules governing academic integrity.

The most common offences are plagiarism, cheating on tests and exams, fraudulent medical documentation, and improper collaboration on marked work.

The primary criterion for a student’s behaviour to be deemed an academic offence is the pursuit of an unfair academic advantage.

Informing Students About Academic Integrity Rules

Important: The standard of enforcement for the rules is that “students ought reasonably to have known” what they were doing was against the rules.

Instructors should be explicit in their syllabi and lectures about the rules, including putting text and links on Quercus. Sample syllabus text to include is available on the CTSI website and included here:

“All suspected cases of academic dishonesty will be investigated following procedures outlined in the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters. If you have questions or concerns about what constitutes appropriate academic behaviour or appropriate research and citation methods, please reach out to me. Note that you are expected to seek out additional information on academic integrity from me or from other institutional resources (for example, the University of Toronto website on Academic Integrity).”

Instructors should not rely on what they think should be “obvious” or assume that a student’s prior educational experiences would have taught them these principles.

8.2 Information, Resources, and Help

The A&S Student Academic Integrity team has compiled resources for instructors and units, including guidance for using the Student Academic Integrity (SAI) system on the SAI SharePoint site.

Key Resources

A&S Student Academic Integrity Team — Available for individual instructor or departmental workshops on methods of prevention. They can be reached for information, help and advice at

University of Toronto Academic Integrity — Strategies for students to avoid academic misconduct, and information on academic integrity processes and procedures at U of T.

Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation (CTSI) — Helpful suggestions on how to use preventative strategies when designing course materials.

Student Academic Integrity system (VPN required) — Contains templates for instructor-student and unit-student communication.

8.3 Academic Integrity Process

The process for dealing with allegations of academic misconduct is meant to enforce responsibility and be educative. It is designed to resolve matters at the lowest level and earliest stage where possible and is described in full on the Academic Integrity website.

Important: Allegations are escalated to higher levels when:

  1. the offence is serious enough to warrant a penalty only available at higher levels, and/or
  2. the assignment is valued at more than 10% of the course mark.

The first step is for the instructor to meet with the student.

The second step is for the instructor to inform their academic unit of the matter so the Associate Chair, Undergraduate (or equivalent) can record its occurrence. This is crucial to the identification of prior academic integrity offences.

The Academic Integrity Resources SharePoint has several quick-start guides for instructors and units to help in understanding this process and the systems involved.

  • Matters may only be resolved at the academic unit-level if the assignment in question is worth 10% or less. In such cases, sanctions may only be applied by the Chair or head of the unit. Under the Code, instructors are not permitted to apply sanctions for academic integrity offences.
  • Offences on assignments worth more than 10% must be dealt with at the divisional-level and be referred to the Arts & Science Student Academic Integrity team.

Regardless, the instructor-student meeting must take place in all instances. Before conducting a meeting of this sort, all instructors are advised to refresh their understanding of the process by reviewing the process and procedures section of the Academic Integrity website.

Normally, instructors and units should make every effort to investigate academic misconduct at the unit level to facilitate the student-instructor meeting and, when necessary, as per the Code, refer them to the Student Academic Integrity team within one month of the suspected misconduct (or one month after the end of term at the latest).

Note: Instructors and units with questions about the AI process are encouraged to reach out to

Mass Academic Misconduct Cases

Some instructors may suddenly face a situation, especially in large courses, of many students having allegedly committed an academic misconduct offence. It is strongly recommended that instructors and units facing a “mass academic misconduct case” reach out to the Student Academic Integrity (SAI) team for guidance and assistance. The SAI team can offer advice on ways to manage what could potentially become a time-consuming and resource-intensive situation. In addition, instructors should consider reporting to the SAI team troubling trends or any observations around academic integrity that could benefit from coordinated approaches.

8.4 Sanctions and Outcomes

Important: Under the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters (Section C.I.(A).8) a sanction may be imposed below the level of the University Tribunal only if the student admits responsibility for the offence.

Sanctions tend to be serious but not onerous for first offences. The sanctions escalate steeply if the offence is truly egregious or part of a pattern of repeated offences.

  • At the unit/department level, the maximum penalty is a “0%” for the assignment.
  • At the divisional level, a common penalty is a “0%” for the assignment and a reduction in the course mark leading to a failed course; the maximum penalty is a one-year suspension.
  • At the Tribunal level, longer suspensions or expulsions are applied to sufficiently serious offences.

Cases may be forwarded to the institutional level when one of the following occurs:

  • a student is unresponsive
  • a student does not admit to the allegation of misconduct at the divisional level
  • an offence is considered sufficiently serious or a student has multiple instances of academic misconduct on their record

The institutional Academic Integrity site details the process at each level.


9. Student Support, Accessibility, and Accommodations

Beyond legislative obligations, the University and the Faculty take pride in its serious commitment to an inclusive and accessible learning environment that both meets the needs of students and preserves the essential academic integrity of the University's courses and programs.

9.1 Accessibility & Accommodation Essentials

Key Resources

Accessibility Services (AS) — Information about the resources and assistance Accessibility Services provides to students, as well as an extensive list of contacts.

The University provides academic accommodations for students with disabilities in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) legislation. Under the legislation, responsibility for ensuring accessibility is borne by multiple groups within the University, namely: Accessibility Services, instructors, academic units, and staff.

Academic Accommodation — Office of the Vice-Provost, Students

Accessibility Services

If a student approaches an instructor regarding a disability-related academic accommodation need(s), and if they do not already have an approved accommodation by Accessibility Services, then the instructor should refer the student to one of the following resources: their Accessibility Advisor, the Accessibility Services (AS) office, or their College Registrar's office.

Accessibility Services staff are mandated to review appropriate documentation and determine reasonable academic accommodations for students registered with Accessibility Services. For this reason, it is important to connect students to Accessibility Services to help ensure appropriate supports are in place for the student in relation to their courses.

Accessibility Services is permitted to disclose the functional impact of a disability on the student’s learning and can discuss with an instructor the specific accommodations which may relate to the requirements in their course.

Instructors and their academic units determine what students must demonstrate in a course; Accessibility Services acts as a resource on alternate ways by which students might demonstrate their knowledge.

Staff at AS work with instructors to ensure that students with disabilities have a chance to learn and demonstrate their learning. If instructors have questions about a student’s academic accommodations, they may contact AS directly.

Important: In all interactions, instructors must keep a student’s registration with Accessibility Services confidential. This is especially important for in-class interactions.

Note: Most students registered with Accessibility Services have non-apparent disabilities. Confidentiality guidelines prevent Accessibility Services from disclosing the private health information or symptoms of a disability without the student’s permission.

Instructors should be considerate when responding to students and should avoid individual arrangements with a student who discloses a disability outside the formal accommodation process. However, when a faculty or staff member verifies that a student is encountering serious difficulties and the student is in the process of obtaining the necessary accommodations, a student may request interim accommodations.

9.2 Student Letters of Academic Accommodation

Most accommodations can be managed through an adaptation to allow the student to undergo the same mode of assessment as other students in the class. It is worth noting, however, that while maintaining the consistency of assessment methods across all students is normally a pedagogical goal, achieving the necessary accommodation for a student may make it impossible to have perfect consistency of method in assessment, and so instructors may be asked to devise alternate means of assessment.

Accommodations are put in place to address barriers to learning. Accessibility Services works with the student, and sometimes directly with an instructor, to identify appropriate accommodations that address barriers to learning that are also aligned with course learning objectives. If instructors have concerns about a proposed accommodation, they should reach out to the Accessibility Advisor to discuss as soon as possible.

A student’s accommodations are stated in their Letter of Academic Accommodation. The Vice-Provost, Students website articulates that “Under the Human Rights Code provisions, students may choose to provide their Letter of Academic Accommodation (as a PDF file) directly to a faculty member or request that the accessibility office send the letter of accommodation to the faculty member. This letter verifies that the accessibility office has received and reviewed documentation confirming a disability and provides details on the proposed accommodation. Letters of Academic Accommodation may be issued at any time during the year."

If instructors have specific questions or concerns regarding the student’s academic accommodations and/or how to implement the accommodations, they should contact the student’s advisor through the contact information provided in the student’s accommodations letter, or at Accessibility Services at or 416-978-8060.

9.3 Accommodated Tests & Exams

Key Resource

Accommodated Testing Service (ATS) — Coordinates assessment accommodations for students with disabilities who are enrolled in courses offered by divisions on the St. George Campus.

Some students require accommodations to write tests and exams. On the St. George campus, this is done by Accommodated Testing Services (ATS). Instructors will be notified by Accommodated Testing Services if a student in the course will be writing with ATS.

Such accommodations may require that test questions be formatted in a special way through adaptive technology and will require test questions to be delivered to a location different from where the rest of the class is writing.

Important: For these reasons, it is important that instructors adhere to the strict deadlines Accommodated Testing Services specifies for providing test question papers.

Meeting the University’s legal obligations to accommodate requires that test papers be prepared and delivered in a timely manner.

9.4 Religious Accommodations

The University has a policy on accommodation of religious observance, strongly articulated on the Provost's website.

“Please note that the obligation not to discriminate on the basis of religion (“creed”) is a statutory duty arising from the Ontario Human Rights Code. It carries with it the obligation to accommodate religious requirements where doing so does not cause undue hardship to the University. For example, accommodation normally requires that scheduled graded term work or tests conflicting with religious requirements be adjusted by providing similar evaluation on alternate dates.”

Please consult the above website for specific guidance on religious accommodations.

9.5 Academic Advising

Departmental advisors are best positioned to answer academic questions about their specific unit’s courses and programs, while general academic advising and problem-solving for A&S undergraduates should happen at the College Registrar’s office in the student’s college.

College Registrars’ Offices are a student’s reliable first stop for any information, referrals, or advising they may need throughout their degree. Colleges provide academic, financial, and personal advising to undergraduate students, and often form lasting relationships with students during their time at U of T.

Note: When in doubt, referring a student to their College Registrar’s Office is normally the best place to start.

9.6 Students in Crisis

Faculty and staff may occasionally experience students who appear to be in crisis and require immediate support. The following resources should be used in these situations, depending on the level of urgency and severity.


Any situation requiring immediate police, fire, or medical response to preserve life or property should be directed to 911.

U of T Campus Safety

Emergencies requiring immediate response should go through 911, but Campus Safety can respond promptly to other situations. Campus Safety Special Constables are experienced in dealing with students.

Address: 21 Sussex Avenue
Non-Emergency Line: 416-978-2323
Urgent Line: 416-978-2222
U of T Campus Safety Website

Student Crisis Response/Student Progress & Support

For student situations involving concerning behaviour or references to suicide or violence, instructors should contact Student Crisis Response:


10. Teaching Support, Resources, and Contacts

10.1 Teaching Support & Resources

The Faculty of Arts & Science and the University offer a range of resources to support instructors in their teaching and pedagogical development.

General Teaching Support

A&S Teaching & Learning (T&L) Team: The T&L team, part of A&S Office of the Dean, is available to answer questions and offer instructor consultations about all aspects of teaching, from effective accessibility practices to classroom management, from designing assignments and activities to clarifying academic policies. T&L is your key contact whether you are fine-tuning a syllabus or brainstorming the structure of a new course. T&L also operates a multimedia production studio and can assist with the full range of education technology (EdTech) available to instructors, including Quercus, the M365 suite, audience response tools, JupyterHub, and various media authoring platforms.


Centre for Teaching Support and Innovation (CTSI): Offers in-person and online programming, consultations, support for scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) research, and resources for U of T instructors at all stages of their teaching career (including guides for tools available through Quercus). CTSI also offers individual pedagogical consultations and support for the development of teaching dossiers.


IT and Technology Support

Information & Instructional Technology (IIT): Supports the Faculty’s teaching, learning, research, and administrative operations through its service desk, computing lab management, research computing system administration, data centre operations and application development.


Academic Integrity

A&S Student Academic Integrity Team: The Student Academic Integrity team promotes academic integrity and advises students, instructors and staff on matters related to academic integrity and academic misconduct. This team, within the Governance unit of the Faculty Arts & Science at U of T, is responsible for administering the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters.


Classroom Support

Learning Space Management (LSM) is responsible for the central or “shared” space at the University, including both classroom spaces (except those controlled by an academic unit or College) and shared community (non-classroom) areas, as well as Accommodated Testing Services (ATS). LSM provides service and support related to “central” classrooms and technology, including teaching stations, the Opencast Content Capture System (OCCS) for lecture recording, and Tech2U, which provides real-time, personalized technical support for instructors.


Library Services

Library Services for Faculty: The list of services the librarians provide for faculty in support of their teaching can be found on the Library’s Supporting Teaching site. It includes subject-specific advice on research materials available for courses.

Library Services for Students: The Library can also assist instructors by providing students with library orientations and teaching students the information skills that they will need for a course. View the services and workshops they offer directly to students on their website. Instructors can also contact their library liaison about a tailored session for their course.

College Contacts

College Registrars’ Offices: Contact information for each college Registrar’s Office.

College Writing Centres: Information about St. George campus and college Writing Centres.

10.2 Instructor Support and Accommodation

Employee Health and Well-being Programs & Services

Health & Well-Being supports employees and managers involved in sick leave, long-term disability, occupational health issues, workplace injuries, and workplace accommodation for employees with disabilities.

10.3 University Student Services

Academic Success Centre

Workshops and individual support for learning skills including time management, memorization, exam preparation, note-taking, and stress management.

Academic Success Centre website

Accessibility Services

Advising for students on learning and other strategies, facilitating of assessment and accommodations for students with disabilities. Advice for instructors on adapting assessment and other course elements for students with disabilities

455 Spadina Avenue, 4th floor, Suite 400
Accessibility Services website

Campus Safety

For security and safety concerns. Emergencies requiring immediate response from Toronto Police Service should go through 911, but Campus Safety can respond promptly to other situations. The nature of work performed on campus provides the potential for emergencies of a unique nature. Special Constables are specially trained to deal with campus occurrences that require sensitivity and discretion when responding to community needs.

21 Sussex Avenue (behind Robarts Library)
24/7 Regular Dispatch Line: 416-978-2323
Urgent Line: 416-978-2222
Campus Safety website

Career Exploration & Education

Research tools, workshops, and advice on choosing and preparing for careers, on-campus employment and work study listings.

Career Exploration & Education website

Centre for International Experience

Logistical and social support for international students; information and support for international student exchange students, both inbound and outbound.

Cumberland House, 33 St. George Street
Centre for International Experience website

Community Safety Office

Responds to students, staff and faculty members of the U of T community who have personal safety concerns.

21 Sussex Avenue, 2nd Floor

Family Care Office

Provides confidential guidance, resources, referrals, educational programming and advocacy for the University of Toronto community and their families.

Koffler Centre, 214 College Street, 1st floor, Room 103
Family Care Office website

Indigenous Student Services/First Nations House

Provides culturally-sensitive services to Indigenous students in support of academic success, personal growth and leadership development.

Borden Building, 563 Spadina Avenue, 3rd floor
First Nations House website

Health & Wellness Centre

Supports students’ mental and physical health, uses OHIP and UHIP.

Koffler Centre, 214 College Street, 2nd floor
Health & Wellness Centre website


Offers confidential advice to students, faculty and staff. As part of the University’s commitment to ensuring that the rights of its individual members are protected, the University Ombudsperson is devoted to ensuring procedural fairness and just and reasonable outcomes. The Ombudsperson offers advice and assistance and can recommend changes in academic or administrative procedures where this seems justified.
Ombudsperson website

Student Academic Progress

For concerning student situations or advice on how to proceed in situations with a possibly distressed student, staff and faculty should visit the Student Life website for further information.

Student Crisis Response

For student crisis situations involving disturbing behaviour or references to suicide or violence, staff and faculty should call Student Crisis Response at 416-946-7111 and Campus Police at 416-978-2222 or the Toronto Police Service at 911.

Student Housing Service

Provides assistance for students in finding off-campus housing.

Koffler Centre, 214 College Street, Room 150
For residence inquiries:
For all other inquiries:
Student Housing Service website


11. Who's Who

Chair: Academic administrator responsible for the department’s budget, hiring, promotions, and tenure, as well as for the management of the department.

Undergraduate Academic Lead, e.g., Associate Chair, Undergraduate; Undergraduate Coordinator: Usually the person who arranges the teaching assignments, approves your marks before sending them on to the Faculty, and handles appeals on academic matters in the department/unit. An invaluable source of advice and help should you need academic information or guidance handling thorny matters with your undergraduates.

Undergraduate (UG) Administrator: The administrative staff person in each unit who handles much of the undergraduate administrative business for the unit: classroom locations, marking schemes, Quercus access, class lists, marks, enrolment matters, petition questions, final exam texts, exams written by students registered with Accessibility Services, and all manner of other things.

College Registrar: The primary source of academic advising for students. There are 7 colleges associated with the Faculty and each has a College Registrar with a staff of academic advisors. These valuable people are the initial contact points for students needing information, assistance, advising, and guidance. While the UG Administrator may handle many program or course-specific questions, the College Registrarial staff takes on the integrated holistic advising that addresses the student’s whole experience while at university, including academic, financial, personal, and developmental.

Faculty Registrar: The Faculty Registrar looks after the registrarial functions in the Faculty: admissions, the Calendar, timetabling, enrolment, petitions, final exams, assessment of academic status (probation, suspension, etc.), assessment of degrees, and convocation, as well as coordinating student advising.

Dean & Vice-Deans: The Dean, Vice- and Associate Deans, and decanal advisors are responsible for academic matters in the Faculty, including appointments (hiring), tenure, promotions, the Faculty’s overall budget, all academic matters including marks, and the academic management of the Faculty.

Principals: Each of the colleges has a Principal (although at Trinity College the title is Dean of Arts). The federated colleges (Trinity, St. Michael’s and Victoria Colleges) also have their own Presidents.

Provost: The Vice-President and chief academic officer of the University.


12. Acronyms

A small sampling of the acronyms in play that a faculty member might need identified:

AP&P — Academic Policy & Programs: a standing sub-committee of the Governing Council’s Academic Board, responsible for approval of all curricula.

APUS — Association of Part-Time University Students: the U of T student organization representing part-time students.

ASSU — Arts & Science Student Union: the official student organization representing all full-time Arts & Science students, and umbrella organization for the many course unions (i.e., departmental student societies).

CPAD — Council of Chairs, Principals & Academic Directors: Dean’s primary consultative body of academic leaders in the Faculty (not a policy-making body).

CTSI — Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation: U of T resource for faculty members in support of all aspects of teaching.

DO — Dean’s Office: Sidney Smith Hall, 2nd floor.

EDU — Extra-Departmental Unit: a formal academic unit, with four different levels ranging from full departmental equivalency to research-only centres without appointing powers.

ELL — English Language Learning program: assists non-native English-speaking students with increasing their facility in the language of instruction.

FAS — Faculty of Arts & Science.

FLC — First-Year Learning Communities: para-academic small groups of 25 students each, who are taking a common cluster of courses, to encourage community and impart academic skills.

LMS — Learning Management System (Quercus).

NGSIS — Next Generation Student Information Services: name given to the suite of U of T student information systems.

OFR — Office of the Faculty Registrar: Sidney Smith Hall, 1st floor, NW corner (includes the U of T Transcript Centre and the Exams Office).

P&B — Planning & Budget: Office in the Provost’s Office responsible for all academically-related resources.

PDAD&C — Principals, Deans, Academic Directors & Chairs: Provost’s consultative body of academic leaders in the University (not a policy-making body).

ROSI/ACORN — Repository of Student Information: the student information system.

SAI — Student Academic Integrity: the branch of the Dean’s Office that looks into cheating, plagiarism, and other allegations of academic misconduct by undergrads.

SGS — School of Graduate Studies.

SWS — Student Web Service: the students’ user interface for ROSI.

TCard — Students’ U of T photo ID student card (required ID for writing exams).

T&L — The Arts & Science Teaching & Learning team assists instructors with all aspects of pedagogy, curriculum development, teaching technology (including Quercus), teaching awards and course evaluations.

UTM — University of Toronto at Mississauga: separate arts & science division of U of T, with its campus 45 min. west in Mississauga.

UTQAP — University of Toronto Quality Assurance Process: U of T’s implementation of the Provincial Quality Assurance Program

UTSC — University of Toronto at Scarborough: separate arts & science division of U of T, with its campus 40 min. east in Scarborough.

UTSU — University of Toronto Students’ Union: the official student organization representing all U of T full-time students.

WIT — Writing Instruction for TAs: a Curriculum Renewal project to leverage TA resources in order to increase the amount of student writing done especially in large courses.


13. Further Regulations & Policies

The University has many other policies, guidelines, codes or bodies of rules you may need to consult in specific situations. A small sampling follows:

Code of Student Conduct: This sets out the limits on student behaviour in non-academic matters. Offences bring non-academic sanctions, with offences involving safety generally being the only ones that would interfere with a student participating in courses.

Appropriate Use of Information & Communication Technology: This may apply to some unwanted email or web activity by students in a course, but there is also a section in the Code of Student Conduct dealing with unauthorized access.

Freedom of Information and Privacy Protection & Access & Privacy Practices: As a government-supported body, the University adheres to FIPPA principles and practices. Instructors should be aware of the general limits on getting or giving access to personal information in their control and should know how to handle such sensitive student information appropriately. Consult your unit or the FIPPA office on any challenging issues.

Access to Faculty, Students, Staff for Research Purposes: Most research, including that by students on students in relation to courses, is covered in the normal research protocols in your unit, but these guidelines address other research on students.

Close Personal Relations: This memorandum outlines the obligations placed on faculty members under the University of Toronto Policy on Conflict of Interest.

You can also view further Governing Council policies and Provostial guidelines as well as policy and guidelines on advancing an environment built on respect, diversity and inclusion.


14. Appendix A: Academic Integrity Elements for a Syllabus

A useful academic integrity statement should include:

  • a comment on why academic integrity is important
  • a list, in clear language, of the behaviours that constitute academic misconduct
  • a reminder that not knowing the rules is not an excuse, and that students are expected to know and follow the rules of the University

Sample Syllabus Paragraphs

The University of Toronto treats cases of academic misconduct very seriously. Academic integrity is a fundamental value of learning and scholarship at the U of T. Participating honestly, respectfully, responsibly, and fairly in this academic community ensures that your U of T degree is valued and respected as a true signifier of your individual academic achievement.

The University of Toronto’s Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters outlines the behaviours that constitute academic misconduct, the processes for addressing academic offences, and the penalties that may be imposed. You are expected to be familiar with the contents of this document. Potential offences include, but are not limited to:

In papers and assignments:

  • using someone else’s ideas or words without appropriate acknowledgement
  • submitting your own work in more than one course without the permission of the instructor
  • making up sources or facts
  • obtaining or providing unauthorized assistance on any assignment (this includes working in groups on assignments that are supposed to be individual work)

On tests and exams:

  • using or possessing any unauthorized aid, including a cell phone
  • looking at someone else’s answers
  • letting someone else look at your answers
  • misrepresenting your identity
  • submitting an altered test for re-grading


  • falsifying or altering any documentation required by the University, including (but not limited to) doctor’s notes
  • falsifying institutional documents or grades

All suspected cases of academic misconduct will be investigated following the procedures outlined in the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters. If you have any questions about what is or is not permitted in this course, please do not hesitate to contact me. If you have questions about appropriate research and citation methods, you are expected to seek out additional information from me or other available campus resources like the College Writing Centres, the Academic Success Centre, or the U of T Writing Website.


15. Appendix B: Examples of Mark Calibration Methods

Example 1

After marking, the instructor discovers a test to have been unusually difficult such that there are marks spread throughout a range, but the highest scores do not reach beyond 80%. Looking at the test, the instructor sees that there were difficult questions to test the finer points of the material but not enough questions to test more basic knowledge. The instructor adds X% to all scores on the rationale that every student would have been able to achieve roughly this many more points if the questions had given them the opportunity to show more of the knowledge they had acquired.


This simple method assumes that students with marks at the lower end of the range would have achieved the same number of additional points as the students with marks at the higher end, since the material not tested well was the most basic. This may not be precisely true of those at the very bottom of the failure range, but the imprecision has no real significance since those were merely moved around in the lower failure range.

Example 2

A test is discovered after marking to have been unusually easy, such that there are marks spread through the range, but the lowest scores are beyond the 50% threshold, when quizzes and assignments have shown no unusually strong grasp of the material by all. The instructor subtracts X% from all students’ scores on the rationale that every student would have achieved roughly this many fewer points if the questions had not been so heavily weighted toward truly basic material.


This method assumes that the students with the lowest marks have obtained the same number of points on the easier questions as the students with the highest marks, since there were more of those easier questions on the test. This may not be precisely true of marks at the very bottom of the range, but again the imprecision has no real significance.

Example 3

The instructor finds the results look as they do in Example 1, but upon reviewing the test finds that they had simply made the questions in all ranges of difficulty more challenging than intended. The instructor adjusts by adding X% of each student’s score to that score (i.e., multiplies each score by some percent greater than 100% to calibrate upwards, by less than 100% to calibrate downwards). By multiplying by some percent, you are not adding or subtracting a fixed amount; you are recalibrating the scale proportionately rather than absolutely. The assumption behind calibration upwards in this instance is that the resulting additional points would be differentially greater rather than absolutely the same.


This method works well when scaling scores up, but some instructors are reluctant to use it to scale scores down.

Example 4

A more complex model. The instructor decides on a “floor” mark, on the basis of relevant factors such as (but not necessarily limited to) the instructor’s post-marking assessment of the difficulty of the assignment for the students. A student whose raw score is below the floor mark is assigned the floor mark for the test/exercise, other things being equal. (Other things might not be equal, as when the student did not answer any of the questions.)


The instructor will need a rationale for setting a floor mark. One possible rationale would be to try to minimize (or at least reduce) the likelihood of there being students in the class who get a mark so low that they become discouraged and drop the course. This rationale might be appropriate in a course that aims to teach certain skills — skills that, in the instructor’s experience, most students develop over time and with repeated practice. On the other hand, the floor mark should not be so high that it gives a student who receives it little or no incentive to do better; other things being equal, it should be one that most students would not be content with.

Example 5

The same procedure as in Example 4, plus the following steps. The instructor calculates the average score increase for those students whose raw scores are raised to the floor mark and then raises the raw scores of the other students (i.e., those students whose raw scores are equal to or higher than the floor mark) by a percentage of that average or by different percentages of that average for different ranges of raw scores. For example, suppose that the floor mark is 60% and that the average score increase for those students whose raw scores are raised to the floor mark is 4%. The instructor might raise raw scores in the 60-69% range by x% of 4%, raw scores in the 70-79% range by y% of 4%, and raw scores in the 80-100% range by z% of 4% provided that the increase does not raise the student’s mark above 100%.


In contrast to Example 4, the method illustrated in Example 5 benefits (by awarding a score increase) students with raw scores at or above the floor mark, as well as those students with raw scores below the floor mark who are assigned the floor mark.