1,500 students receive incomplete grades each year
Published: Thursday, October 25, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 25, 2012 22:10
The mid-semester grind is underway for Miami University students, and for many, that goal grade point average set on the first day of classes may suddenly seem more daunting.
One option many number-crunching students may not consider isn’t found in the standard “A” to “F” family.
An incomplete grade or “I” is not usually a common concern amidst the quest for a solid GPA.
As per the Miami University Policy and Information Manual (MUPIM), incompletes are regarded as “non-punitive grade of I,” which developed from the University Senate Academic Policy Committee.
When an “incomplete” is recorded, it is often administratively changed to an “F.”
The student handbook states that when there has been no instructor grade change by the last class day of the semester following the assignment of the incomplete, the incomplete grade is changed and calculated in a student’s term and cumulative grade point average.
According to Dave Sauter, university registrar, this was a fairly recent change to the former policy, in order to enable students to have the grade of “I” count as an “F” until at least one additional term had occurred.
This means that students are now given extra time to change their ‘I’ to a more desirable grade.
“Unless after the prescribed timing the student has not met the requirements of making up the incomplete,” Sauter said, explaining that, for example, if a student received an “I” in the spring semester of 2011 and did not complete the coursework by the end of the next fall semester, that student would automatically receive and “F” in the course.
There are typically 500 to 600 “I” grades each fall or spring semester and around 300-400 in summer semesters, a total of around 1,500 per academic year, Sauter said.
As this is out of approximately 220,000 total grades, incomplete grades account for roughly 0.68 percent of annual grades.
Although it affects less than 1 percent of grades, incomplete grades can become a tricky situation for students with unexpected situations like hospitalizations, major illnesses and family emergencies.
Sophomore Samantha Vaughan has never dealt with an incomplete grade, but says each student’s unique situation should be treated fairly.
“I don’t think it’s right to punish a student for a something they had no way of planning for, so this policy seems to help with that,” she said.
Within the next term, making up or removing incomplete grades is possible by completing the course requirements or by repeating the course, and Sauter said how that plays out can vary in each situation.
“[It depends] on the basis for the awarding of the grade of incomplete,” he said.
As each division and professor is required to follow university policy, a standard procedure has developed over the years.
Jeff Wanko, professor and associate dean of the school of education, health and society, said he has not come across they situation frequently in the past.
“I haven’t had to deal with it very frequently, maybe one or two every couple of years,” Wanko said, adding that in most cases, it occurred when a student had to take a medical leave for a short time during the semester.
Wanko said he decided upon an informal agreement with those students and allowed them to have extra time to complete assignments.
“It’s no different than standard policy,” Wanko said.