WGU Assessment Policies


First Term Assessments - Critical Actions Required

Effective January 1, 2019: New students, to be successful at WGU, are required to engage in at least one of the three types of assessments in at least one course within 45 days of beginning their first term.


Visit First Term Critical Actions for details. 


Note: If a performance assessment is returned without an evaluation (as expressed in a comment accompanying the returned task), the submission does not count as a first-term critical action.


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Performance Assessments


WGU performance assessments are most often completed within the student's assessment platform. A performance assessment typically includes individual tasks (e.g. research papers, assignments, projects, and essays) that, when combined, demonstrate competency for a larger assessment. Note that all assessments, regardless of delivery platform are formal testing processes, not exercises or "homework.” Thorough preparation for all assessments is recommended as it facilitates more timely progress toward graduation. Assessment validity is ensured when students spend the time preparing their submission that is commensurate with the complexity and challenge of the task.


End of Term Deadline Policy

Student work submitted and passed before the end of the term will be credited on the date of submission. Performance tasks must be submitted no later than 11:59 p.m. Mountain Time on the final day of the student’s term. Students who do not submit before 11:59 PM Mountain Time on the last day of their term will receive a Not Pass on their assessment for the term, even if the assessment receives a passing score.


In rare and specific situations, an incomplete may be available (see the incomplete course policy). Students should work with their program mentor to understand the requirements and process to apply for an incomplete. If a student takes a term break and a task has not been evaluated, the task will be evaluated upon return and then credited to the term in which it was submitted.

Multiple-Attempt Policy

When assessments are developed by WGU, the rights of students to retake assessment are included with information disseminated to WGU staff and students.


Students are able to independently submit work when revisions are needed to demonstrate competency. There are two scenarios where a student may be referred to their Course Instructor for additional assistance with the task prior to resubmission:

  1. Course Instructor support is recommended to strengthen the student's understanding of the content of the course before working further on the performance assessment. The task is released to the student for resubmission, with the encouragement to connect with the Course Instructor prior to resubmitting their work.
  2. Course Instructor consultation is required prior to re-submission of the student's performance assessment. In this case, the student will be able to see the scores and evaluation feedback, and must consult with the course instructor for support in demonstrating proficiency in key areas of the performance assessment. The student will need to obtain the course instructor approval to resubmit the performance assessment.


Scoring Policy

WGU evaluation faculty judge performance assessment submissions using rubrics that include various aspects of competence and a scale that measures it. See the Performance Assessment Scoring Policy and Rubrics for more information.


Evaluation Result Policy

If students do not pass performance assessments by the end of the term, they will receive a Not Passed on their degree plan and transcript. It is therefore in a student’s best interest to utilize the course of study and submit early in a term to enable additional submissions should their first attempt not pass. The time between task submission and the evaluation is longer toward the end of each month and at peak times, such as in advance of demonstration teaching audits in teacher licensure programs and near graduation deadlines. Students should plan accordingly. 


Should a question or concern arise about a performance assessment result, students should contact Assessment ServicesAssessment Services serves as the liaison for evaluation inquiries and appeals. The most frequently asked questions about how evaluation inquiries and appeals are initiated, reviewed, and resolved are compiled within Assessment Appeals FAQ.


Alumni Performance Assessment Access Policy

Students do not have access to WGU courses (including work submitted within a course) after graduation. It is highly recommended students save all their work prior to submitting a copy for evaluation. For the FAQ compilation on access to previous course work, visit How can I access my task submissions in a previous course? As noted, please contact assessmentservices@wgu.edu for a review of individual situations where there is an urgent need for access to prior student work at WGU.


For more information about the services available for our alumni, please visit alumni.wgu.edu or contact our Alumni Relations team.


Software Usage Policy

The following file types are not acceptable for submission:

  • Prezi (unless submitted in a .pdf format) 
  • Emaze 
  • Any file that is accessed via a live link to an editable document i.e. Google Documents, DropBox links, OneDrive links (Unless specified in course instructions)
  • Password protected files

Students should submit the original file by downloading it to their computer before submitting for evaluation. Always consult the task directions for additional notes on required file types. Students can take advantage of a free offer for Microsoft Office. Visit Software Offers for Students to learn more.


Academic Authenticity Policy

Unless the student is directed by WGU to work with other students, all assessments and projects must be the student’s own work.


Each assessment must represent at least 70% original student work, demonstrating their own competence and no one else’s, whether other sources are used and properly cited or not.

WGU uses a variety of means to ensure the submission of original work, including but not limited to, faculty expertise and technology tools such as Unicheck. While such determinations are made in the context of each submission, generally speaking, submitted work should be at least 70% original to a student.

Submissions determined to lack originality will not be evaluated for content but will count toward the submission limit.



Additional Information

Visit Assessment Services to read about all the areas the team supports within the WGU assessment environment.


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Preassessments are no-stakes online assessments provided to students to determine current knowledge and skills prior to engaging in course material. 


Attempts and Approval

Students may take a preassessment at any time without prior approval. There are no limits on the number of times a student may attempt a preassessment.  


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Objective Assessments


Objective assessments require students to demonstrate competencies through high-stakes, computer-scored, proctored examinations. Objective assessments measure knowledge of content, skills, and processes. Objective question types include true/false answers, multiple choice, multiple-response and matching questions. 


End of Term Deadline Policy

Assessment scheduling requests for in-house assessments can be approved and scheduled up until the last day of the student's term. Any scheduled assessment must be scheduled before 11:45 p.m. Mountain Time and the student must be connected with the proctor to launch their scheduled session before 11:59 p.m. on the last day of their term. In rare and specific situations, an incomplete may be available (see the incomplete course policy). Students should work with their program mentor to understand the requirements and process to apply for an incomplete.


Third-party assessments need to be approved and scheduled three days prior to the last day of a student's term. It is highly recommended that any third-party assessment is scheduled before the last month of the term to ensure adequate time for scheduling and receipt of the score. 


No Show Policy

Students who schedule an in-house objective assessment, but do not appear for their scheduled date and time, and do not communicate with the University within 24 hours, will have a "No Show" placed on their record. A No Show counts as an academic attempt for each assessment requirement covered by student tuition. Each No Show will be annotated on the student record after the elapsed time permitted on a missed appointment. Once a No Show is entered into the student record, the student will need to work with their Program Mentor and Course Instructor to schedule another attempt. 


For third-party assessments, students will receive a no show according to the third-party provider's policies. 


Retake Fees Policy

Students are charged a $60 retake fee for third and subsequent attempts at WGU in-house objective assessments. Students must pay retake fees when their next tuition payment is due. Federal financial aid does not cover these retake fees. Retake fees for third-party assessments vary depending on the cost from the third-party provider. Retake fees for third-party assessments are required to be paid prior to retaking the third and subsequent attempts at an assessment. 


A retake fee can only be waived at the discretion of an Assessment Services Liaison or by the request of a program faculty manager.  


Attempts/Approval Policy

Attempts on each objective assessment, including outside vendor assessments, are limited to four attempts per assessment (total attempts, including if the course is retaken in a later term). Any attempt thereafter will need to be approved through the Program Mentor and Course Instructor senior leadership. After a fourth attempt to demonstrate competency for the objective assessment, an appeal for an additional attempt may be submitted to senior leadership for the course (approval unlikely, except in extreme circumstances). If the appeal for an additional attempt is denied, a student must either change to a different WGU degree program not requiring that assessment or seek educational opportunities outside of WGU. 


Faculty approval is not required for a first attempt of an in-house objective assessment, provided the student has completed the preassessment for the course. Students can schedule and take their first attempt at an objective assessment through the Assessment Center. First attempts at third-party assessments are approved by the Course Instructor for the assessment. 


Second and subsequent attempts are approved by the Course Instructor for the assessment. Prior to retaking an assessment, students must consult with their Course Instructor to develop a personalized study plan. The study plan may include a recurring appointment with a Course Instructor, engagement in the Course of Study, engagement in weekly webinars, or other appropriate educational activities. 


Attempts three and beyond require a minimum five-day waiting period, Course Instructor and additional supervisory approvals, and are only granted after student engagement standards are met. After a fourth attempt to demonstrate competency for the objective assessment, an appeal for an additional attempt may be submitted to senior leadership for the course (rarely approved except in extreme circumstances). If the appeal for an additional attempt is denied, a student must either change to a different WGU degree program not requiring that assessment or seek educational opportunities outside of WGU. 


Once an objective assessment retake is approved by a Course Instructor, the student can schedule and take the assessment from the Assessment Center. 


Third-Party Assessments

Many assessments are published by third parties. In addition to WGU's limit of four attempts, the right of students to retake these assessments is determined by the requirements associated with the third-party exam. Students unsure of the specific approval and retake policy in effect should contact their Program Mentor and Course Instructor for clarification. Students are strongly encouraged to take practice or sample assessments where they are available, reflect upon their related learning experiences and abilities, and consult with their Course Instructor on appropriate learning resource use before seeking approval to take a third-party assessment. Students may be able to engage in an assessment but cannot complete an exam for credit outside of their term from a third party. WGU does not accept transfer credit from a third-party assessment if earned while enrolled at WGU. All attempts at third-party assessments, including the first attempt, are approved by the Course Instructor for the assessment.  


Identity Verification Policy

WGU requires that the identity of all students be verified utilizing a current, valid (not expired), government-issued photo identification (ID), including temporary IDs, where picture, name, and expiration date are clearly visible, before beginning an objective assessment. The first and last name on the identification must match the first and last name on file with WGU. Acceptable IDs include: 

  • Driver's licenses or other state photo identity cards issued by Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent) 
  • Passport 
  • Military ID 
  • Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID 
  • Registration card (such as a green card, permanent resident, visa) 

Any questions regarding the identity verification process or acceptable IDs should be directed to Assessment Services. 


Objective Assessment Secure Environment Policy

WGU requires that all students using online proctoring for their objective assessments test within a secure environment. A secure environment is defined as a place that is clear of any papers, books, and other materials. This includes any items on the walls around them. WGU objective assessment items are considered high-stakes and are not available for review outside of the secure testing environment.


Note: The test session is defined to be from the time the proctor joins the session to when the exam has been submitted.


The secure environment must also be clear of any other person(s) and the student is the only person in the vicinity of the environment chosen for the test session. 


The proctor is responsible for maintaining a secure environment during the testing session. The proctor has discretion to make adjustments as needed to the requirements below to ensure a secure environment.  



  • Children under the age of five and small animals are permitted in the vicinity of the environment but if the situation causes disruption due to interaction, etc., the proctor is allowed to use discretion in stopping the session at any point.  

  • For exam security, only one computer monitor is permitted to be open and used during the session. Any additional monitors must be closed and/or powered off.

  • A glass of water is permitted to be in the secure environment during the exam session.  

Approved testing aids permitted in the secure environment

  • Approved calculator (see Testing Tools Policy section below).
  • WGU-issued whiteboard, or student's own whiteboard. Please see the whiteboard policy (opens new window) for criteria to which a whiteboard must meet.
  • WGU-issued webcam, or student's own external webcam, provided it meets the required specifications (opens new window)
  • Speakers are required to be on and connected to the computer. Proctors will communicate with students via their computer speakers during the exam, which is the time the proctor joins the session to when the exam has been submitted. Built-in, hard-wired, or Bluetooth speakers are acceptable. Note: Headphones are not permitted as speaker replacements (please see below).

Not Permitted

  • Once the exam session is launched, there is no cell phone usage permitted. The proctor will secure the cell phone if it is in hand (the student will be asked to place the phone in a place where it is visible at all times). If technical difficulties are experienced, the proctor will reach out to the student via phone and online. 

  • Adults (including children over the age of 5) are not permitted in the chosen testing environment. 

  • Hats or headwear, except for those being worn for religious or medical purposes. The proctor may ask the student to remove items for identification verification purposes. 

  • Headphones and/or earplugs are not permitted as approved testing tools during the test session. 

  • Handwritten or printed materials, such as dictionaries, notebooks, scratch paper, textbooks, etc. 

  • Any other electronic or Bluetooth devices or reference materials, including recorders, radios, CD players, iPods, smartwatches (e.g., Apple watch), etc. not listed as permitted or approved above.

  • On-screen keyboards
  • Sunglasses

  • Talking and/or reading questions aloud during the examination session is not permitted.

If you require an accommodation as an exception to any of the above items, please contact Student Accessibility Services


Note: The proctor may request that students shift position due to the location of entryways into the chosen testing location. If the student moves out of the frame of the webcam, including taking a break, they will be required to re-secure their environment. 


Testing Tools Policy

WGU allows approved, permitted tools to be used during the proctoring sessions for the completion of objective assessments. These permitted tools are strongly encouraged if needed, and this policy is strongly enforced and monitored.  


Students are allowed to use a WGU-issued webcam, or their own external webcam, provided it meets the required specifications for online-proctored (OLP) exam sessions. Internal webcams are not permitted at any time during an OLP session.

Whiteboard and Scratch Paper

Students may use one dry-erase whiteboard  during online-proctored assessments. The one whiteboard must be free of any lettering, graphics, or logos, but may have graphing lines. Students will be asked to clear the whiteboard at the start and end of each testing session. Once the scheduled session is completed, the proctor will require the student to erase their whiteboard before the session can be officially submitted for scoring. Scratch paper is not permitted during online proctoring sessions. Please see the full whiteboard policy (opens new window) for criteria to which a whiteboard must meet.



Only WGU-approved calculators are permitted for use during a proctored session. To see a list of approved calculators, visit Approved Calculators.



For approved assessments, students are permitted one ten-minute break per hour of testing. The timer will continue to countdown while students are on their break. If a break is used during an approved assessment, the exam session will be a forward-only session once the exam is resumed; students will not be able to make any changes to questions they answered or viewed prior to starting the break. Visit Take a Break Feature for Proctored Online Assessments for additional Take a Break guidelines.


Objective Assessment Results Policy

Students will receive a truncated result that will reflect their competency level based on the content design for the course they are completing. WGU does not round scores due to ensuring that a student is gaining competency and WGU is meeting accreditation requirements. Students are required to be at or above the given cut score for each course in order to receive a “pass” for that assessment.


Students will receive a coaching report showing a high-level view of overall competency. Please see the Coaching Report and Results Policy for more information.


Objective Assessment Rescore Policy

Score reviews may be considered in instances where there are technical inaccuracies or system issues during the assessment administration. Score reviews are not granted on the sole basis of a score being close to passing, or dissatisfaction with a score result. If a student thinks they may be eligible for a score review, the student should first confer with their Course Instructor. The Course Instructor will assist in determining if the issue should be escalated to the Assessment Department.


For more information about the competency-based model visit Competency Based Learning. 

For more information about WGU’s grading system, see Grading System.

For the most frequent questions about assessment appeals, see Assessment Appeals FAQ.


Academic Authenticity Policy

When taking a proctored WGU assessment, the student may not access any device or material not specifically approved in advance, nor communicate with anyone except the proctor. 


For any further questions about their assessment environment, students are encouraged to reach out to Assessment Services.


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Article Number: 23128, 20374, 1057, 1803