- These guidelines are intended to:
- Assist instructors in making deferral decisions;
- Ensure fairness in assessing student requests;
- Provide consistency across the Faculty;
- Provide consistency with University guidelines.
The three steps are required to defer a midterm or in-class test:
Step 1) Determine if the student should be granted a deferral
Step 2) If yes, determine how to accommodate the deferral.
Step 3) Report the deferral to the MESC office to be included in the student's file.
STEP 1 - Determine if the student should be granted a deferral
- The following reasons are generally accepted, provided proper documentation:
- Religious conflict. The instructor must follow McGill guidelines, which can be found at Holy Days. If in doubt, the instructor can request documentation on official letterhead from a religious leader confirming that the student is a follower of a religion. Instructors are strongly encouraged to consult the list of holy days in advance of scheduling any in-class tests.
- Health/medical. Original documentation on official letterhead, signed by the residing medical practitioner, is required indicating the:
- nature of the illness/issue
Note: Medical documentation indicating that the student claims that they are suffering from a headache, stomach ache, nausea etc should not be accepted.
- duration date that the student is expected to be absent
- nature of the illness/issue
- Death in the family. Original documentation is required, such as a notice of death or obituary from a newspaper.
- Serious illness/accident in the family. Original documentation on official letterhead from a doctor or a police report is required, stating the dates of the illness/accident.
- Intercollegiate event. The following form is required: Athletics . A minimum of one week's notice is required, since these events are known in advance.
- Job interview. A letter or email from the Engineering Career Center is required, stating the date, time, and location of the interview. A minimum of one week's notice is required.
- Faculty-sponsored events held outside of Montreal. Examples include design competitions and job fairs. A letter from the responsible full-time faculty member is required, stating the dates of travel and the student's role in the event. Only faculty-sponsored participation is accepted. A minimum of one week's notice is required.
The following reasons should generally not be accepted.
- Travel not related to above issues, such as family birthdays, reunions, vacations.
- Misreading of the course outline or calendar.
- Having many other exams / assignments in the same week.
- Personal matters such as relationship conflicts.
- Obligations to student clubs or sports teams other than intercollegiate event discussed above.
- Employment obligations.
- Sleeping in / falling asleep.
Professors should use reasonable consideration in determining if absence or lateness due to inclement weather, traffic delays, and vehicle breakdown is excusable and should be accommodated by a deferral.
Reasons for absence other than those discussed above should be discussed with the Departmental Undergraduate Program Director, and his/her approval should be requested in granting a deferral.
STEP2 - If a deferral is granted; determine how to accommodate the deferral
When a deferral is granted, the instructor may propose one of the following options to the student. If the instructor and the student cannot agree on an accommodation, the matter is to be referred to the Departmental Undergraduate Program Director.
- Reschedule the midterm/in-class test. A make-up test may be given at a different time, usually within a week of the original test. The make-up test should generally be given after the regularly scheduled test.
- Shifting the weight of the test to the final exam or other individual test. This is only appropriate if the final or the other tests) is (are) cumulative for the year, otherwise the material on the missed test would go untested. Weight should not be added to group work or class participation.
Instructors should ensure consistency in their mode of accommodation. For example, all students missing a particular in-class test for valid reasons should be offered the same mode of accommodation, to ensure fairness across students.
STEP 3 - Report the deferral to the MESC office
The MESC office tracks deferrals for nature and frequency. The instructor should send an email to nicholas [dot] reed [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Nicholas Reed) , stating the reason for the deferral. This will be placed in the student's file.
Adapted from the Guidelines for Missed Midterms in the Faculty of Management.