What do I need to Know about Incompletes?

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2021-02-09 22:31

Effective June 1, 2020, the allowable timeframe for grades of Incompletes has changed to two terms following the course end date.

Grade due dates and submission of grades of Incomplete

Grades are usually due by the Friday after the last day of the term. 

Grades should never be left as In Progress (IP) after the grade due date and should be posted in accordance with the allowable grades for each degree level. For undergraduate courses, see the Undergraduate Catalog for allowable grades. For graduate courses, see the Graduate Catalog for allowable grades. Professors may choose to post grades of Incomplete (I) or unofficial withdrawal (WF) in specific circumstances. Please see the guidance regarding those grades below.

Faculty considering posting grades of Incomplete for students should note the following details:     

  • Grades of Incomplete should only be posted following conversations with each individual student regarding the student’s required assignments and due dates to successfully complete the course.
    • If the student stopped attending mid-term or semester and has not been in contact with the professor, a WF is more appropriate than an Incomplete.
  • It is essential that grades of Incomplete only be considered in accordance to catalog policy. 
  • An electronic Incomplete Grade Form must be posted for students prior to the Incomplete being posted through Grade Entry in Faculty/Staff Academic Services in Connections. Access instructions here.
    • The information included in the form documents faculty expectations and timelines agreed upon between the faculty and applicable student, making the form an essential tool for record-keeping and communication purposes.
    • These forms are sent to the applicable student, the faculty member submitting the form, and the departments that process various aspects tied to the grade of Incomplete.
    • NOTE: The requirement to complete the electronic Incomplete Grade Form prior to the Incomplete being posted through Grade Entry is new for Spring 1, 2021. If the form is not completed prior to the Incomplete being posted through Grade Entry, the grade will revert to an IP for the applicable student until the electronic Incomplete Grade Form is posted first. See the following images for examples of what to expect:

Grading Portal

Grading Portal showing no incomplete form

Who do I contact if I have questions? 

Faculty should reach out to their department chairperson for quidance. Or may connect with teams in the Academic Advising Center and the Reeg Academic Resource Center if they have any questions or need any clarification. Faculty can reach out to the teams in the Reeg Academic Advising Center or the Academic Resource Center for assistance and to discuss those options. 

Frequently asked questions:

  • I have a student who has not attended class or completed any work for several weeks? Is an Incomplete appropriate? 
  • I have a student who is missing most of the required work? Is an Incomplete appropriate?
  • I have a student who will need to take the class again in another semester in order to complete all of the content due to extenuating circumstances. Should I file an Incomplete for this semester?

In all of these cases, the answer is no, an Incomplete is not appropriate. Do not submit an Incomplete as the students’ grades or leave the students’ grade as In Progress (IP) in these situations. Instead, submit the appropriate earned grade for the students. If the students then contact you to discuss the grade after it is posted and you want to offer opportunities for the students to successfully complete the course, you still have options.  

  • I have a student who plagiarized a major paper. Is an Incomplete appropriate? 

Possibly. If the faculty member wants to offer the student the opportunity to resubmit the paper, an Incomplete could be posted. However, if the faculty member chooses not to allow the student the opportunity to resubmit the paper, the student’s earned grade for the course should be posted. If the faculty member has recommended the student to the Academic Integrity Education Program (AIEP), a grade of Incomplete is not appropriate, and the student’s earned grade should be posted. NOTE: Questions about the AIEP should be directed to Carolyn Brown, assistant director of the Reeg Academic Resource Center, at 314-246-7668 or carolynbrown04@webster.edu.

  • I want to allow six months for the student to complete their coursework. Why will the form not allow me to choose this date?

Both undergraduate and graduate policies state that grades of Incomplete should be resolved within two terms of the course end date. Thus, the form limits selection of dates to that timeframe. Best practice indicates that this timeframe – or shorter timeframes – is optimal for students to successfully complete their grades of Incomplete.

  • A student with a grade of Incomplete has been working diligently and remaining in communication with me but is not yet finished with their work. Can I extend the deadline?

Possibly. To request an extension, please forward your documented communications with the student and the request for the new deadline to incompletes@webster.edu.

  • Is it OK to submit a grade of Incomplete for a student who is expecting to graduate/complete their program at the end of the term?

Submitting a grade of Incomplete for a student expected to graduate/complete their program at the end of the term is a bit complicated – especially because you may not know that the student is expecting to graduate/complete their program. It is best to carefully discuss the potential grade of Incomplete and the student’s status with them. Grades of Incomplete may delay students’ graduation/completion dates, and faculty should ensure that students are aware of the possible delays.

  • Where can I find the submitted electronic Incomplete Grade Form once I completed it?

The faculty submitting the electronic Incomplete Grade Form will receive it via their Webster email. The student will also receive a copy. The faculty member and other Webster employees with access to the student’s folder through the Student Success Portal, powered by Starfish, will also find the electronic Incomplete Grade Form posted at the bottom of the Overview screen.

  • Do I have to do anything additional once the student’s deadline, as documented on the electronic Incomplete Grade Form, arrives/passes?

It depends. If the student has not completed any work by the documented deadline, the information regarding the Alternate Grade, as documented on the electronic Incomplete Grade Form, will be posted by the Registrar’s Office as noted by the Date Registrar’s Office will Change Grade to Alternate Grade field of the electronic Incomplete Grade Form. However, if the student has completed their work prior to or on their documented deadline, the faculty member should complete and submit the electronic Grade Change Form, available through Connections following the same process as accessing the electronic Incomplete Grade Form, to record the student’s earned grade.

Step-by-step guidance on assigning a grade of Incomplete

Review the guidance regarding Incompletes to ensure that grades of Incomplete are only being used in appropriate situations. 

Using the Student Success Portal, powered by Starfish, to boost successful completion of Incompletes

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:

  • Submitted electronic Incomplete Grade Forms are being uploaded into the Student Success Portal so that faculty and staff members may access the forms and the information they contain.
  • Notes regarding changes to the original agreement for grades of Incomplete (e.g., extended deadlines) and/or administrative changes (e.g., 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. Faculty should also email this information to incompletes@webster.edu to ensure that this information is fully communicated to all relevant offices that support students with grades of Incomplete. 
  • Concerning Grades: Incomplete (I) system flag is raised when a grade of Incomplete is posted, automatically sending a message to each student who has one or more grade of Incomplete posted. This flag remains active until the student’s grade(s) of Incomplete change to an earned or administrative grade. 

By more closely monitoring grades of Incompletes and their resolutions and ensuring that all grades are posted in a timely manner, Webster can help students remain on track to meet their academic goals. 

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