Incomplete Grade Policy (Faculty) FAQs


How are incomplete grades handled?

Beginning with the Fall 2008 semester, when an instructor determines that a student is eligible for an incomplete ('I') grade, he or she also specifies an “incomplete final grade,” which is a default grade the student would receive if the student does not complete the remaining coursework within the specified deadline.  Incomplete grades are reflected on the official transcript as simply an 'I' until they are changed to a final grade.

Incomplete grades that are not changed by the instructor within one year will revert to the incomplete final grade that was determined by the instructor at the time the original incomplete grade was assigned. Prior to the Fall 2008 semester, incomplete ('I') grades that were not changed within one year after the date the original 'I' grade was granted remained as permanent 'I' grades on the transcript, and they had no effect on the student’s GPA.

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What is the reasoning behind the incomplete grade policy?

The policy provides timely information to students as to the consequences of failure to complete assigned course work. Rather than ending up with an 'I' grade that has no effect on the GPA, the final grade for the course reflects the work completed within the allowed period and does count in the student’s GPA. The current policy acts as an incentive to students to complete coursework in a timely manner. There is no longer an academic advantage to having an 'I' grade in lieu of a poor earned grade.

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How do I determine the 'incomplete final grade' to go with the 'I'?

To calculate the default grade, award a zero grade for the work that was not completed and compute the final grade accordingly. The example below reflects a course with 4 gradable components, and assumes a 90-80-70-60 grading scale.

  Example 1 Example 2
Course Component Percentage of Grade Assignment Grade Contribution to Grade Total Assignment Grade Contribution to Grade Total
Part 1 20% 90 18 100 20
Part 2 30% 80 24 90 27
Part 3 40% Missing 0 90 36
Part 4 10% 100 10 Missing 0
           
Total 100%   52   83
Default Grade     F   B

In Example 1, you would record an incomplete final grade of 'F' because the missing work (worth 40% of the total grade) received zero credit when calculating the total grade. If the missing work is not completed within the one-year time period then the grade for the course will automatically become an 'F' and will be treated as such in all GPA calculations. When a zero for the missing work (worth only 10% of the grade) was recorded in Example 2, the resulting grade (83%) was sufficient to warrant an incomplete final grade of 'B'. Should this student do nothing to complete this missing assignment within the one-year time period, the incomplete final grade of 'B' should be assigned by the instructor. If the instructor has specified a shorter time period than one year, he or she can submit a grade change form to the Registrar’s Office at the end of that time period to change the grade.

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How do I enter the incomplete final grade?

When an 'I' grade is assigned, the grade entry system will prompt for the incomplete final grade.

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What incomplete final grades are allowed? Can I give an incomplete final grade of 'A'?

Appropriate incomplete final grades include 'B', 'C', 'D', 'F', 'F!', 'NP', 'U' and 'UR'. A final incomplete grade of 'A' is inappropriate, since the student has already completed enough work to earn an 'A' and should be awarded an 'A' grade instead of an incomplete. Similarly, 'P' and 'SR' are not appropriate default grades.

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Can I give an 'I' grade to a student who completed less than half of the work for a course?

No. According to current policy, a student must satisfactorily complete the majority of course work, and average 'D' or better on work to date, but has been "unavoidably prevented from completing the remaining work of the course," in order to receive an 'I' grade. 

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Can I give an 'I' grade to a student who is failing the course?

No. According to current policy, a student must “have averaged 'D' or better” in the work to date to be eligible for an incomplete grade. 

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Can I give a student an 'I' grade and tell them to repeat the course next semester and use the grade from that class to replace the 'I'?

No. Under the policy, a faculty member may neither require nor allow a student to repeat the course to remove an 'I' grade.

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Can I require a time period shorter than one year for completion of missing work?

Yes. The student should be informed of the deadline for completing missing work. If the work is completed within the time period specified, submit a change of grade form to reflect the new grade. If the remaining coursework is not completed within the allotted time, submit a change of grade form that reflects the incomplete final grade. If no change of grade form is submitted, the grade will automatically be changed to the incomplete final grade after one year.

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Is there a deadline for instructors to change the "I" to a final grade after the student has completed the coursework within the one-year time limit?

From Academic Regulation 6.2: “It is the responsibility of the instructor to initiate action to have any new permanent grade entered as soon as possible after the student completes the course or, after one year, partially fulfills the remaining requirements.” For students who need the course to meet degree requirements, grade change forms must be received in the Office of the Registrar by the second working Friday after the end of finals week of the student’s graduating term (usually two weeks after the end of the term, not counting University closure for the holidays). See the Graduation Deadlines website for grade change deadlines for specific terms.

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What incomplete final grade should I assign if there is an outstanding academic integrity violation under review at the time grades are due?

In the event an academic integrity incident is not resolved at the time grade reports are due to the Registrar, an 'I' grade should be assigned with an incomplete final grade that reflects the proposed sanction. The incomplete final grade will be "F!" or a grade calculated to reflect a "zero" or "F" for the assignment(s) or examination(s) that are under review for violating academic integrity. Students have 5 school days (defined as a regular class day during the fall or spring semester unless the student is enrolled in a class during summer school) to appeal the violation. The incomplete final grade becomes final if the student does not appeal by the five day deadline. Contact the Office of Academic Affairs at 405-744-5627 for additional information.

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What grade should I assign if there is an academic integrity violation associated with completion of the missing work?

The final grade in this situation should be the same as if the same academic integrity violation had occurred during the semester in which the course was offered.

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What will show on the student's transcript?

On the official transcript, the grade shown will simply be an 'I'; no incomplete final grade will show while the incomplete grade is still active. After the 'I' grade has been replaced by the incomplete final grade (either by a change of grade form submitted by the instructor, or by default after one year), the official transcript will show only the final grade; there will be no record that it was once an incomplete.

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How do I see incomplete and incomplete final grades I’ve assigned?

Incomplete grades you’ve assigned are visible in the Faculty Grade Entry area of Self Service (under the Faculty Services tab). Select the desired course in the desired term and view the "Incomplete Grades" tab that is to the right of the "Roster" tab.  If no "Incomplete Grades" tab is visable beside the Roster tab, this is an indication that no students in the class currently have incomplete grades.

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How does the student see the incomplete grade and the incomplete final grade?

Students can view incomplete grades and incomplete final grades as soon as they are submitted by instructors using the View Grades link under Student Records in Self Service. See the View Grades website for details. A few days after the term is over, they may also see incomplete grades and the incomplete final grades using the Final Grades link under Student Records.  The Academic Transcript section of Student Records shows the incomplete, but incomplete final grades are not visible there until after they have defaulted.

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What happens to the student's GPA when the 'I' grade reverts to the incomplete final grade?

The student’s GPA will be recalculated based on the final incomplete grade, which will appear in the semester in which the original 'I' grade was earned. It should be noted that this may have a significant impact on the student’s academic standing, eligibility for scholarships, and the like.

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Will anyone send warnings to students that have 'I' grades that are scheduled to revert to the incomplete final grade?

Students with outstanding 'I' grades on their transcripts will be sent an e-mail reminder at the beginning of the semester during which their 'I' will expire, provided OSU has a valid email address for the student. This e-mail reminder references the policy regarding 'I' grades and the associated academic repercussions of allowing the 'I' grade to default to the incomplete final grade.

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Will an 'I' grade prevent a student from graduating?

If the course is part of the degree requirements, yes. The student should either complete the missing work or request that the incomplete final grade be assigned by the instructor (using a change of grade form) prior to graduation. In the latter case, the incomplete final grade will then be used in the degree audit calculation.

If the course is not part of the degree completion requirements, an 'I' grade has no effect on the student’s eligibility to graduate.

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Can a student complete missing work after s/he graduates?

Yes, if the course(s) were not part of the degree requirements. Note that such grade changes recorded after graduation will affect the GPA.

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A student graduated with unresolved 'I' grades on his/her transcript. Will these 'I' grades be changed to the incomplete final grade after a student graduates? What happens to the GPA in such cases?

Yes. The 'I' grades will be changed to the incomplete final grades after one year. This will affect the student’s GPA.

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Are there any circumstances in which, for a course in which an 'I' grade was originally assigned, a student can receive more than one year to complete the work?

Yes, but only in extremely rare instances of extenuating circumstances that prevented the student from completing the work during the normal timeframe (such as military deployment or severe illness). A dean may authorize an extension of the one-year time limit by sending a memo or email to the Registrar or Assistant Registrar for Academic Records during or shortly after the term that the incomplete is scheduled to default (for graduate courses, the Dean of the Graduate College is the appropriate individual to authorize an extension). If the incomplete grade has already defaulted to the incomplete final grade when the student completes the coursework, the instructor may submit a grade change form to change the grade to a higher permanent grade, but it requires approval of the department head and dean. For graduate courses, this should be the Dean of the Graduate College.

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Which office can I call if I have other questions?

Contact the Registrar’s Office at registrar@okstate.edu or 405-744-6876.