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Assigning and Resolving an Incomplete

Assigning an Incomplete

Sometime during your time at Georgia Tech, you may need to consider assigning an Incomplete for a student who faces a non-academic emergency in the latter part of the semester, making it impossible or difficult for them to complete the course. This page proves information about Incompletes: when, how, and why to assign them; how to work with students to resolve them; and how to change the grade.

Pursuing an Incomplete for a Student

It’s your choice to pursue an Incomplete; you’re not required to assign an Incomplete in every instance that meets the criteria listed here (though you probably would in most cases). If you’re not sure whether an Incomplete is appropriate to assign, contact Andy.

The Policy

The GT Registrar, with reference to the Rules and Regulations, discusses the “I” (Incomplete) grade this way:

The “I” grade is used when, for reasons beyond the student can control and deemed acceptable by the instructor, a student whose academic performance had been satisfactory becomes unable to fulfill a course’s requirements. If the student’s academic performance had been so poor as to preclude them passing, the instructor shall assign the grade of “F.”

In other words, you can assign an Incomplete if both of the following circumstances are true:

  • The student has suffered some kind of non-academic emergency that makes it difficult/impossible for them to complete the course.
  • The student’s performance at the point of the non-academic emergency is satisfactory—that is, they are passing the course.

Generally, Incompletes are reserved for non-academic emergencies that happen in the second half of the semester. (The Registrar’s page notes that the student “should only lack a small portion of course work.”)

Most of the time, Incompletes are given for 1101/1102 portfolios, final projects in other courses, or projects from late in the semester.

“Non-academic emergencies” include a range of events, including (but not necessarily limited to) the following, as discussed on the Registrar’s website:

  • Personal illness of the student
  • Family emergency (death in family, serious illness in family, birth of child, etc.)
  • Computer failure/software problem/lack of data supplied by outside source
  • Travel required by job that could not be rescheduled

Exception: Student Integrity/Plagiarism Cases at the End of the Semester

The main exception to the criteria above is when a student is referred to the Office of Student Integrity (OSI) for plagiarism or another Honor Code violation near the end of the semester (generally for the portfolio or other final project). In that case, assign an “I” while OSI investigates the case.

Entering the Incomplete

If the student’s situation meets the above criteria, you can assign an Incomplete. Incompletes are entered as a course grade in the same way as other course grades; select the “I” instead of an “A,” “B,” etc. No other paperwork is required.

Working with the Student to Complete the Incomplete Work

Once you’ve decided on an Incomplete, you should let the student know. When the student is able, meet with the student to discuss a plan for completing the Incomplete.

Technically, the student has until the end of the next semester in residence (i.e., the next semester they are enrolled) to complete the Incomplete. Generally it’s best both for you and for the student to set a schedule that prompts the student to resolve the Incomplete early in the next semester.

You are not required to further directly teach or tutor the student, though you are free to do so. If the student does not resolve the Incomplete by the end of the next semester in residence, the grade automatically changes to an “F.”

Resolving the Incomplete

Once the student has completed the missing work and you have graded it, submit a Grade Change Request Form, making sure to tag Andy Frazee as a Reviewer. A grade change goes through several approvals and so may take several days to full process.