This article addresses the following assessment policies:
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. See details here - First Term Critical Actions.
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 (Taskstream, iHuman, AMNH, etc.), 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.
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.
When assessments are developed by WGU, the right of students to retake assessment are included with information disseminated to WGU staff and students.
Students are able to independently submit work up to four times for each performance assessment (first submission, plus three resubmissions). If the fourth attempt does not demonstrate competency, the student must meet with a Course Instructor before resubmitting.
Note: A task may be held or locked prior to the fourth attempt if significant revisions or documentation is needed. In these cases, students must also work with their Course Instructor and demonstrate substantial engagement with additional resources to increase their preparation (e.g., with learning resources) to have the task released.
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.
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 Services. Assessment Services will assist in submitting a challenge to the evaluation.
Once complete, the challenge will be acknowledged and assigned to an evaluation supervisor within 24 hours. The evaluation supervisor will investigate the concern and will respond.
Upon graduation, WGU provides alumni a complimentary one-year membership to access performance assessment submissions. After the first year, alumni can purchase their own membership to continue accessing their work. Alumni can download their entire performance assessment portfolio at any time within their degree program or via their complimentary one-year membership.
The following file types are not acceptable for submission:
Please submit the original file by downloading it to your 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. Click here to learn more.
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 Turnitin.com. 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.
Click here for answers to frequently asked questions.
Preassessments are no-stakes online assessments provided to students to determine current knowledge and skills prior to engaging in course material.
The student's program mentor will only approve the taking of an objective assessment if the student has completed a preassessment. Not all objective assessments have a preassessment; this requirement is waived for those that do not. Students are allowed to attempt preassessments a maximum of three times. The student's program mentor must approve second and third attempts at the preassessment.
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.
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.
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.
Students who schedule an in-house objective assessment, fail to 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.
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 on all objective assessments including outside vendor assessments are limited to four attempts. Any attempt thereafter will need to be approved through the Program Mentor and Course Instructor senior leadership. After a failed fourth attempt, an appeal for an additional attempt may be submitted to senior leadership in Mentoring, but it is unlikely that an appeal will be 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.
A student's first attempt at their objective assessment is approved by the Program Mentor. Program Mentors and Course Instructors may require that a student pass the preassessment prior to approval for the objective assessment.
Program Mentors are still the primary approvers for first attempts. However, if the student meets the criteria below, the Assessment Services team can also approve first attempt requests:
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 an intervening learning resource experience. An intervening learning resource experience may focus on study, 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 failed fourth attempt, an appeal for an additional attempt may be submitted to senior leadership in Mentoring, but it is unlikely that an appeal will be 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 is approved by a Program Mentor or Course Instructor, the student will have the ability to schedule their assessment through their student portal.
Many assessments are published by third parties. In addition to WGU's limit of four attempts, the right of students to retake 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 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 program mentor 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.
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:
Any questions regarding the identity verification process or acceptable IDs should be directed to Assessment Services.
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.
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.
Note: The proctor may request that students shift position due to the location of entryways into the chosen testing location. If you move out of the frame of the webcam, including taking a break, you will be required to re-secure your environment.
Approved testing aids are permitted in the secure environment. Approved testing aids are:
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 required to use a WGU-issued webcam for online-proctored (OLP) exam sessions and are allowed to use a WGU-issued whiteboard during their exam session. Webcams not issued by WGU, and internal webcams are not permitted at any time during an online proctoring session.
Students may use a dry-erase whiteboard during online-proctored assessments. 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.
Only WGU-approved calculators are permitted for use during a proctored session. To see a list of approved calculators, click here.
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.
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.
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 click here.
For more information about WGU’s grading system, click here.
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 your assessment environment, please reach out to Assessment Services.
Article Number: 23128, 20374, 1057, 1803