New Incomplete Grading Policy Effective Fall 2006

  • TO: All Arts and Sciences Faculty
  • FROM: E. Guertin, Director of Advising and Assistant Dean
  • SUBJECT: New Incomplete Grading Policy Effective Fall 2006
  • DATE: 8 November 2006

Last year Arts & Sciences Council (ASC) passed a new policy on incomplete grades in Arts & Sciences courses. Effective with this semester, fall 2006, the only incomplete grade awarded in the College of Arts and Sciences is an “IF.” The “IW” grade can no longer be awarded. If an instructor lists an “IW” grade on the final grade roster, the Registrar will automatically convert the grade to an “IF” because the “IW” grade is no longer recognized as a valid grade for Arts and Sciences courses. If you are confronted with a student request for an incomplete, please be aware of the policy (see reverse).

To be eligible for an incomplete grade, college policy requires that:

  • A student request the incomplete
  • A student has satisfactorily completed a significant portion of the course, and
  • A student has extenuating circumstances beyond her/his control that prevent the student from completing the course within the normal time frame.

If a student’s situation does not conform to all of these criteria, the student is not eligible to receive an incomplete. Faculty need to request documentation of the extenuating circumstances before agreeing to the assignment of an incomplete grade and complete and sign with the student an Incomplete Agreement Form (copy enclosed). Having a formal written agreement documenting the work to be completed and the date by which the work is due is often critical to resolving disputes and allows the department Chair or Associate Chair to resolve incomplete grades if the original instructor is not available to do so. A suitable departmental form may be substituted. This form is used to document:

  • the reason/grounds for the incomplete grade,
  • the portion of the course completed and the remaining work to be completed,
  • the student’s grade on the work that has already been completed,
  • and a description of the work that the student will need to submit and the deadline by which it must be submitted in order to complete the course.

Students who have not attended or who have not satisfactorily completed a significant portion of the course should not be given an incomplete grade. The maximum amount of time a student can be allowed to complete an incomplete is one year from the term in which the course was taken. The instructor can set a shorter deadline for the completion of the work but it is the instructor’s responsibility to ensure that the plan for completing the course can be accomplished within the one year maximum. If you have questions about the appropriateness of awarding an incomplete grade, you can discuss the situation with your Chair or Associate Chair.

Incomplete (IF) grades should only be awarded when both you and the student believe that the course work can and will be completed within one year. If that is not the case and the student has compelling extenuating circumstances, you can contact the Advising Director for your division in the college.

Thank you for your help in insuring the proper awarding of incomplete grades.