Date of Award

Spring 3-10-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Ed.D. Transformational Teaching and Learning

First Advisor

Dr. Kathleen Stanfa

Second Advisor

Dr. Michelle White

Third Advisor

Dr. Amy Pfeiler-Wunder


The COVID-19 pandemic exposed many crises in education; fair and just grading was but one. During that tumultuous time, colleges improvised and created many “hold harmless” grading policies to provide empathy and understanding to students as well as to retain students otherwise negatively impacted by the inequities in their personal lives as well as the socioeconomic digital divide. One “due no harm” policy enacted at the community college where this study occurred was the encouragement of Incomplete (I) grades that prevented student failure in the short term, but traditionally results in long-term failure when the grade of Incomplete (I) converts to a failing grade. The Incomplete Grade Recovery Program was piloted wherein students with an (I) grade were assigned Recovery Success Coaches to support them in their recovery of incomplete work during the sessions in between fall and spring semesters and spring and fall semesters. The purpose of this study was to both understand how Recovery Coaches worked to support students in recovering their (I) grades and to evaluate the program’s effectiveness from the perspective of 45 participants (the Recovery Coaches, Recovery Students, and the Faculty who enrolled their students in the program). Grounded in the theories of Relational Pedagogy, Intrusive Advising/Counseling, and Servingness, the research methodology is a mixed-methods design that blends quantitative, longitudinal institutional data that represent the community college’s Incomplete (I) grade history, program’s effectiveness, and responses collected from a Faculty survey with the qualitative stories gathered from one-on-one Recovery Coach interviews and a six-student focus group. The findings of this study indicated that Recovery Coaches’ relational, intrusive approaches were leveling factors in motivating academically vulnerable students to arrive at the same academic outcome (the conversion of the (I) grade to a passing grade) as the more academically-abled who did not take part in the program.



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