Management of Examinations and Academic Integrity: Guidelines for Departments, Examiners and Invigilators


To ensure that the assessment of students through examinations is fair and that high standards of academic honesty are maintained, the University relies on the commitment of invigilators operating with the support of departments. The following guidelines are based on those approved by the University Senate at its meeting on 8 June 2011 as a basis for the management of examinations. All staff responsible for the conduct of examinations should be familiar with these guidelines. 

Departments may institute additional requirements to maintain the integrity of examinations taking into consideration their own circumstances. 

    On-campus Examinations

    Appointment of Invigilators

    1. The faculty member responsible for the course must be present at the examination. For examinations with more than one course-section, a Chief Invigilator should be appointed to coordinate the conduct of the examination.
    2. Departments must provide at least two invigilators for each examination venue and at least one invigilator per 50 examinees. As far as possible, these should include both male and female invigilators.
    3. Invigilators should be teaching personnel: academic staff, language instructors, demonstrators, or postgraduate teaching assistants.
    4. Departments should establish a pool of invigilators sufficient to support all the examinations for which they are responsible.
    5. To maintain accountability, departments should keep a record of the assignment of invigilators to each examination. 

    Examination Papers and Stationery

    1. The faculty member responsible for the examination must ensure the accuracy and confidentiality of examination papers.
    2. The HKUST Academic Honor Code should be reprinted on the front cover of examination answer books, followed by the Declaration of Academic Integrity as below for students to confirm before they proceed to the content of the examination paper.
    3. It is good practice to number blank answer books to facilitate record keeping. The number of books returned should be the same as the number distributed
    4. Scratch paper, if provided, should be of a different colour from that of answer books.

    Seating Plan

    To prevent impersonation at examinations and facilitate checking of student ID cards, it is good practice to draw up a seating plan for each examination. This is particularly the case for large examinations.

    Before the Examination

    1. Examination venues are available 30 minutes before the start of examinations (45 minutes for the S H Ho Sports Hall and the Tsang Shiu Tim Art Hall). Invigilators should arrive at the venue in sufficient time to post the seating plan and to distribute question papers, answer books, scratch paper and other necessary materials. 
    2. Staff of the Academic Registry will provide a Class Roster, an Invigilator Log Sheet, a Report on Student Academic Misconduct, recommended Announcements to Students, and useful Contact Numbers.
    3. Invigilators should allow students to enter the venue only when everything is ready.
    4. Except for items explicitly permitted for the examination, all books, bags, papers, mobile phones and other communication devices etc. must be placed so that they cannot be accessed, ideally at the front, rear or side of the room. Subject to permission of the invigilators and only where items are easily visible, these may be placed under desks and seats.
    5. Examinees must place their student ID cards (a HKID card is acceptable only if the student ID card is not available) on the right-hand corner of their desk. Students without ID cards should be refused entry. 

    During the Examination

    1. At least one Invigilator should be in the room throughout the examination.
    2. Before starting the examination, the Invigilator should announce the time allowed for the examination and the number of questions for each examination paper, and should ensure that all examinees have a complete question paper, answer book and required stationery.
    3. If there is a delay in the starting time, the finishing time may be extended.
    4. Invigilators should note the name and time of arrival of late-comers on the Invigilator Log Sheet. Late-comers may not be given extra time for the examination.
    5. In the first 30 minutes of the examination, Examinees are permitted to leave the venue only in exceptional circumstances. After the first 30 minutes, students should not be admitted to the examination.
    6. Invigilators should record student attendance using the Class Roster provided at the venue and verify students’ ID cards to avoid impersonation. 
    7. Examinees may leave the venue to visit the washroom or for any other reason only with the permission of an Invigilator and should be accompanied by an Invigilator. Invigilators should ensure that the examinee does not take away, or return with, any papers, mobile phones or other items.
    8. Invigilators should undertake regular monitoring of the examination.

    End of the Examination

    1. Examinees should not be allowed to leave the examination room during the last 15 minutes of the examination.
    2. Examinees should be reminded to complete the necessary information on the front page of their answer books, including the statement of academic integrity.
    3. All answer books, examination papers and supplementary sheets, whether unused or used for draft work should be collected. Examinees are permitted to remove printed or written materials from the examination room only with the permission of the examiner.
    4. Examinees should not be allowed to leave their seats until all examination answer books and examination papers have been collected and counted.
    5. Invigilators should complete and sign the Class Roster and the Invigilator Log Sheet. All irregularities, including names of late-comers, students taken ill during the examination, and incidents of cheating and misconduct, must be recorded on the Log Sheet.
    6. Where there are irregularities the Invigilator Log Sheet must be returned to the Academic Registry as soon as possible and in any circumstances within the grade reporting period.
    Online Proctored Examinations

    Information about online exams using CANVAS is available at the CEI website: Online Teaching - Real-time Online | HKUST CEI | Center for Education Innovation.

    The HKUST Academic Honor Code should be presented on the landing page of online proctored examination sites, followed by the Declaration of Academic Integrity, for students to confirm before they proceed to the content of the examination paper.

    Academic Dishonesty and Misconduct

    Invigilators are authorised to expel students from an examination if they discover cheating or repeated misconduct.

    For on campus examinations/tests, if an Invigilator believes that a student has committed an act of academic misconduct, the student should be asked to stop writing and leave the examination venue. If the student denies the charge of academic misconduct, the Invigilator should draw a line on the examination/test script to indicate the point when the alleged academic misconduct is suspected and allow the student to complete the examination/test.

    In all cases, the Invigilator should submit a Report on Student Academic Misconduct, indicating the circumstances of the case, to the Head of the Department/Division responsible for the course, via the Course Instructor where applicable, for consideration under the Regulations for Academic Integrity, including any evidence on the act of academic dishonesty collected.

    Illness or Other Circumstances Affecting Assessment

    (Academic Regulations: UG Regulation 7.5; PG Regulation 7.4)

    Students who wish the University to take into account illness or some other extenuating circumstances that have affected their performance in an examination, or ability to attend an examination, or to complete other assessment activities, must report the circumstances of the case in writing and provide appropriate documentation to the Academic Registry within one week of the scheduled date of the assessment activity. The Academic Registrar will review the case and make a recommendation to the relevant Dean/Dean’s designate or the Dean of the Academy of Interdisciplinary Studies (AIS).

    Retaining Examination Scripts

    To provide for grade appeals, Departments should keep students’ examination scripts, whether submitted in hard copy or online, for one year. However, as departments may see different needs for their students' examination scripts independent of their usefulness in the grade appeal process, e.g. scripts may be required for accreditation purposes, the final decision on how long examination scripts should be kept lies with individual departments.

    Regulations and Examination Rules

    The Regulations for Student Conduct and Academic Integrity indicate the roles and responsibilities of instructors, invigilators and students’ supervisors if they detect or suspect cheating, plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct; and which include Rules for the Conduct of Examinations as an Annex.

    Further Information on Academic Integrity for Staff

    The University’s approach to cases of academic misconduct is fundamentally educational. The process for dealing with cases is designed to enable students to better understand the nature of academic misconduct and the high standards of academic integrity that are expected. The sanctions available in confirmed cases of misconduct are intended to signal the importance that the University places on maintaining these high standards and to communicate this to students.

    Staff should do their utmost to ensure that their students understand and conduct themselves in accordance with these standards.

    The Senate adopted an Academic Honor Code for students in June 2005, and a Procedural Framework Governing Violations of Academic Integrity for the University in April 2015.

    Information on the following topics can be accessed via the associated links:

    1. What to Do if You Detect Cheating
    2. Follow-up by Departments
    3. Penalties for Cheating
    4. Steps to Reduce Cheating
    5. Detecting & Preventing Plagiarism
    6. Excluding Cheaters from Course Evaluation (SFQ)
    Further Information on Academic Integrity for Students

      The University is a community designed for scholarship - for learning, teaching and research. In a community of scholars, academic integrity and honesty are critical values.

      Exams, homework, papers and other kinds of assessments are essential to the learning process. Honesty and integrity are central to academic work. Because of this, all HKUST students, on registration, commit to an Academic Honor Code, whereby:

      • Students must observe the highest standards of academic integrity and honesty in all their work throughout their program of study.
      • As members of the University community, students have the responsibility to help maintain the academic reputation of HKUST in its academic endeavors.
      • Sanctions will be imposed if a student is found to have violated the regulations governing academic integrity and honesty.

      Information on the following topics can be accessed via the associated links:

      1. Avoiding Pressures that May Lead to Cheating
      2. What is Academic Misconduct?
      3. How to Avoid Plagiarism and Copying?
      4. What Happens if You are Caught Cheating
      5. Penalties for Cheating
      6. Rules for the Conduct of Examinations