Whether receiving end-of-semester student work fills you with glee (Yay! Evidence of student learning!) or with dread (Boo! So much work do to!) assigning an appropriate grade to that work can be a challenge. If you want to be sure you are assigning grades that accurately reflect student work, read on!
But, sometimes those judgements are more complicated.
What do you do about a student who has failed to attend class after the drop period?
When is it appropriate to give a student an incomplete?
Some of these situations can be addressed by understanding the Registrar’s detailed list of grade types, including grades classified as “restricted,” meaning there are very limited situations in which they are appropriate. Ever given a student a Z, L, or W? If you haven’t, it is good to brush up on when to use these grades and what they mean.
Z: Unofficial Withdraw
When to use it: You may only use a Z if a student NEVER attended your class, or STOPPED attending after drop/add.
Additional considerations: You are required to include the last date that a student was active in the course when you assign the grade of Z.
L: Formally Auditing a Course
When to use it: An L grade is used for students who are formally auditing a course.
Additional considerations: This designation can only be used when a student has formally enrolled as an auditor.
W: Official Withdraw
When to use it:The W grade is the official withdraw designation. This grade will appear pre-recorded on a roster when a student has officially withdrawn.
Other Special Cases:
I: Temporary Grade
When to use it: There are some situations where the best course of action is to assign a temporary grade, such as an I. Perhaps a student has not completed the final assignment, but they are communicating with you regularly and you feel they will complete it once the grading period has already ended. You may assign this student an I for incomplete.
Additional considerations: Two weeks into the next regular term, this I will turn into an F if you do nothing. You may choose to submit an “incomplete grade explanation” which will allow you to give an alternative to the F, or you can submit an “incomplete grade extension” and allow the student some more time to submit their work.