A few years ago, I received a paper from a student, gave it a C-, and returned it to her.
She showed up at my office door one day later, incensed. “Excuse me,” she said, looming over me where I sat in my chair, “but I just want to know what I did to deserve this grade.”
“…how do you mean?” I asked, glancing over the paper and all the corrections I’d scribbled on it. It was a minefield of comma splices, sentence fragments, misspellings, improperly attributed quotes, and half-baked ideas.
Her brow furrowed. “I turned it in,” she told me, desperation creeping into her voice as she reassessed the red marks and saw the look on my face. “I turned it in on time and everything and I answered the question you wanted us to answer. Isn’t that good enough?”
“Well, yes,” I explained, “for a C-. But…
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