Incompletes

Owner
Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education; Associate Dean for Graduate Education and Outreach and Engagement

Key Contacts 

If you have questions, please contact the Office of Academic Programs and Student Development. 

Applicability  

Instructors 

Policy Purpose and Description  

Instructors may report a mark of I (Incomplete) only if all three of the following conditions are met: 

  • The unfinished part of the students work is small. 

  • The work is unfinished for reasons acceptable to the instructor. 

  • The students standing in the course is satisfactory. 

Questions to Consider before Agreeing to an Incomplete or Offering Extended Due Dates 

UEPCC members recently recommended that instructors consider the below questions about the student and the course before making any decisions about extensions or an Incomplete. These guidelines assume that SDS accommodations are always given as required. 

Questions about the students’ performance before the absences occurred: 

  • Did the student usually attend class? 

  • Has the student communicated reliably with the instructor as needed if absent or if other concerns occurred? 

  • Was the student’s written work generally submitted by the relevant deadlines? 

  • Did the student usually participate by speaking, asking questions, and listening actively when given opportunities to do so? 

  • Did the student take the previous exams or quizzes on the day and time as scheduled? 

  • Overall, was the student’s work to date satisfactory, i.e., at least of average quality? 

  • Did the student provide the instructor with the related absence form and, if gone for more than a short absence, some type of documentation? 

  • Keep in mind CLAS requires documentation for a longer absence; generally, a short absence is considered one or two class periods. These are relevant qualities and must be decided by the instructor based on the course schedule and related information. 

Questions about the course size, level, and structure: 

  • Does the course build on earlier course components, with the course’s learning outcomes depending on the student having competence in a previous course component? 

  • If the course, on the other hand, is built around discrete modules, can the student reenter the course and finish it without making up the missed modules while still being able to achieve the course’s learning outcomes?  

  • Do students in the course generally learn through interactive and applied, systemic skill-building and/or practice during the class? Can this learning be “made up” in short experiences or alternative activities outside of class? 

  • Given the level of the course and the complexity of the content matter, does the student have enough prior knowledge about the subject matter, perhaps from related courses, to successfully complete the course and to achieve competency in its learning outcomes with little additional instructional support? 

  • Given the class size, would you be able to offer the same opportunities for extended due dates or help to others in similar situations?  

In most cases, a key factor is whether one can be assured that the student has a reasonable chance to achieve the learning goals of the course. Without this assurance, it can be better to encourage a student to drop the course after talking to a professional academic advisor and Financial Aid, for example. 

If the student expresses concern related to probation, dismissal, overall academic standing, and graduation requirements, for example, the student should be encouraged to discuss the matter with an academic advisor and may be referred to staff in the Academic Programs and Student Development Office (clasps@uiowa.edu). UI athletes and international students may also be reminded to contact Athletics and ISSS about hours needed.  

Definitions  

NA 

Procedure 

Using the Incomplete Agreement form, the student and instructor should agree on a deadline for the work missed and include any other expectations in writing to remind each party of the agreements. 

A course may not be repeated by the student to remove a grade of Incomplete; the grade must be removed by the student completing the unfinished portion of the work. If the work is not completed, the grade will automatically turn into an F,” with the student then able to repeat the course for a new grade. 

  • During the semester immediately following the one in which a mark of I (Incomplete) was recorded, the mark may be changed to a grade without the approval of CLAS Academic Programs & Student Development. The instructor should submit a grade change through MAUI, which will then be routed to the DEO for review. When the DEO approves the change, it is routed to the Registrars Office for final processing. 

  • If the instructor does not submit a change of grade by the end of the next full semester (i.e., excluding summer or winter sessions), the I mark automatically will be converted to an F. 

  • To change an Incomplete that has been converted to an F to another grade, the instructor should follow the same procedure outlined above, but should include an explanation of why the student was allowed extra time to remove the Incomplete. 

Forms  

Frequently Asked Questions  

NA 

Related Information 

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Revision History