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Guidelines Distribution of Graded Examinations and Assignments

Guidelines – Distribution of Graded Examinations and Assignments

Section 38 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. F-25 requires Athabasca University (AU) to protect personal information by making reasonable security arrangements against such risks as unauthorized access, collection, use, disclosure or destruction.

Student examinations and assignments fall under the definition of personal information in the FOIP Act. Reasonable security arrangements need to be taken when receiving or returning examinations and assignments.

  • Examinations and assignments should not be left in a public area.
  • Examinations and assignments should not be placed in a public area for pickup.
  • Other students should not be allowed to handle exams or assignments other than their own.

Suggested ways to receive examinations and assignments include:

    1. Encourage students to submit examinations and assignments directly to the individual that will be marking the examination or assignment. Outside of a classroom setting, the student should place his or her exam or assignment in an envelope and seal it before submitting. The envelope should only have the name of the individual that will be receiving the examination or assignment.

    2. If students submit their examinations or assignments to a department or administrative unit, the staff in the department or administrative unit should immediately place the examination or assignment in an envelope, seal the envelope, and write only the receiver's name on the front.

    3. When students write an examination or assignment at a location other than AU, such as an invigilation centre, the individual invigilating the exam or assignment should be informed of the necessary procedures that need to be followed to protect the personal information of the student. Clearly written instructions should be provided to the invigilator with the examination or assignment.

    4. If examinations or assignments are submitted electronically, precautions need to be taken to ensure only authorized individuals have access to the electronic file, and only the examinations or assignments that are required to be retained for one year are kept and no other copies made or stored.

Suggested ways to distribute examinations and assignments include:

    1. Return examinations and assignments in a sealed envelope directly to the student.
    2. Return examinations and assignments through electronic means ensuring proper transmittal has occurred and access is restricted only to authorized individuals.
    3. Return examinations and assignments during class time.
    4. Place examinations and assignments in sealed envelopes and allow students to retrieve them from a designated office area.
    5. Establish a central area and have administrative staff retrieve the examination or assignment for the student.
Exceptions are permitted only if each student gives her/his prior written consent to openly distribute their examination or assignment. A method of collecting and administering this consent would also be needed.


Office of the University Secretariat, July 2006

Updated May 30 2014 by Office of the University Secretariat

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