I am really slow about changing incompletes to real grades. Because, you know, to grade an essay that is substantially late, I have to go back, reread some of the course materials, check the essay against other student essays to ensure that I am assessing it by the same standards, etc, etc. And once it’s been a month or so, this doesn’t really get harder, so I just keep putting it off. Who wants to do all that? Especially when maybe I am waiting for a second incomplete from the same class, and I sure don’t want to do it twice!

Anyhow, the easy way:

Since I grade by numbers, I can look at how many points the student has accumulated. Then sort out how many they need to earn an A, how many to earn an A-, how many to earn a B+, and so forth. This took me about 5 minutes in Excel.

Okay, so now the question is not, “what grade does this essay deserve?”, but “if the essay is at least a 70, change the incomplete to a B. If the essay is at least an 89, change the incomplete to a B+.” Well, that I can do off the top of my head—no rereading or comparing necessary.

I once made a student wait for ages, not realizing all he needed me to do was change the Incomplete to Pass. Which I barely had to read his essay to do. And yet, I still didn’t realize I was making it much harder than it needed to be.

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