Incomplete grades: Guidance on when to use them and why, new Starfish features

May. 8, 2018

Incomplete grades: Guidance on when to use them and why, new Starfish features

Do you have a student who has not attended class for several weeks?

Do you have a student who is missing most of the required work?

If so, do not submit an Incomplete as the student’s grade or leave the student’s grade as In Progress! Instead, submit the appropriate earned grade for the student. If the student contacts you to discuss the grade and you want to offer opportunities for the student to successfully complete the course, you still have options!

However, Incomplete grades (or leaving In Progress grades posted) can actually harm a student’s academic progress, course sequencing, persistence, and graduation. The following reminders are important as Spring 2018 and Spring 2, 2018, grades are due for undergraduate students on Friday, May 18, and for graduate students on Friday, May 25:

  1. Do not leave In Progress (IP) grades in the system. All courses should be assigned a grade by Friday, May 18 (undergraduate) or Friday, May 25 (graduate).
  2. Incomplete grades should be used sparingly and only when a student has completed a majority of the coursework and has agreed to the remaining requirements and timeline.
  3. An electronic Incomplete Grade Form must be submitted when an Incomplete grade is posted. This form has been updated to provide more clarity for faculty and the Registrar’s Office regarding dates. To learn how to access the electronic Incomplete Grade Form, access these directions.
  4. Review the guidance regarding Incompletes to ensure that Incompletes are only being used in appropriate situations. The best practices and guidance for using the Incomplete Grade Form:

Requirements: Student biographical information
Best Practice: Electronic form will autofill this information

Requirements: Student’s remaining requirements
Best Practice: No more than one or two remaining assignments with their due dates, deadlines, and grading criteria and course grading scale

Requirements: Deadline for submission of assignments to faculty member
Best Practice: Remaining coursework completion within one term or semester

Requirements: Date Registrar’s Office will change grade to alternate grade
Requirements  Best Practice: Date in advance of which faculty member will have student work graded and new grade submitted, if applicable; otherwise, the alternate grade will be applied. If an extension is offered to the student, make a Note in the Student Success Portal so that the Registrar’s Office knows to defer the grade change until the extensions pass.

Requirements: Alternate grade
Best Practice: Grade student will have earned without the completion of the remaining requirements

When issuing an Incomplete grade, the faculty member must explicitly state the commitment of the student and the faculty member. The faculty of record is expected to grade submitted work and post a final grade, using a Change of Grade Form, in a timely manner.

Students should not be awarded Incompletes in lieu of earning failing grades. If the student stops attending but fails to withdraw properly, the faculty of record should assign a student’s earned grade and/or a WF, not an Incomplete. Incompletes should also not be awarded when faculty members have recommended students to the Plagiarism Prevention Program (PPP).

Please also note that, if a faculty member needs the student to have continued access to WorldClassRoom in order to complete the course and resolve the Incomplete, the faculty member must forward the confirmation email received after completing the electronic Incomplete Grade Form to to request that access.

Student Success Portal, powered by Starfish, features:

In order to improve tracking and successful resolution of Incomplete grades, we are leveraging features available in the Student Success Portal, powered by Starfish, including the following:

1) Electronic Incomplete Grade Forms are being uploaded into the Student Success Portal so that faculty and staff members may access the forms.

2) Notes regarding changes to the original agreement for Incomplete grades (i.e., extended deadlines) and/or administrative changes (i.e., the grade being updated) are being tracked in the Student Success Portal. Faculty members are encouraged to make notes regarding students’ progress with their Incompletes and any changes to the original agreement.

3) A Concerning Grades: Incomplete (I) system flag will launch in June that will automatically send a message to students who have an Incomplete posted on their transcripts within the past year. This flag will remain active until the student’s grade has been changed to an earned or administrative grade.

By more closely monitoring Incompletes and their resolutions, Webster can help keep students on track to meet their academic goals. The Academic Resource Center (ARC) is tracking data to determine if collaborative efforts among the ARC, Academic Advising, and colleges and schools are helping students with posted Incomplete grades be more successful.

tags:  faculty, webster today, academic resource center, student success portal, advising,