A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Monday, October 24, 2011

Open thread: the late great assignment

Query submitted for your approval: Do you accept late work from students? If so, how much, how often, and at what consequence?

What is your district policy on this?

Inquiring minds want to know....

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At 10/24/11, 5:34 AM, Blogger Mrs. Chili said...

GAH! This is an issue I deal with constantly and it makes me crazy!

I work in a small, independent, public charter school, which means I get to set my own policy - we have no school-wide policy and I don't believe the district under which we ostensibly operate has a set policy (at least, my daughters don't indicate they do; they go to the public schools in my district).

I WANT to have a zero tolerance policy. Everything we assign goes on a web page; every kid has easy access to assignments and the convenience of being able to do their homework right on the computer - no excuses of printers jamming or running out of ink. It SHOULD be easy, but it isn't.

If I held to the policy, I'm certain the 70-80% of my students would fail. Zeros kill averages, and I've only got two or three kids who ALWAYS turn their homework in on time.

Because of that, I've modified my grading to this; for every day the assignment is late, it loses a letter grade. I grade it as I would if it were on time, then dock however many grades it loses because of when it's turned in (and Haiku tells me, "this was handed in 2 days and 6 hours late," it's awesome). If the paper is too late to bother grading, I give it a 60 with a note in the assignment (another feature of Haiku) that the assignment was so many days late. 60 is failing in our system, but it doesn't do the same kind of damage that a zero does to a kid's overall grade; they're getting acknowledged for doing the work, but they're not getting any credit for the content.

I'm looking for a better system but, for now, that's the best I've got.

At 10/24/11, 9:47 AM, Blogger The English Teacher said...

Since I teach the older kids, I believe it's my job to teach them personal responsibility. Most of them are going to a 4 year college in a year or two, where their late work won't be accepted. Therefore, I don't accept late work unless it is directed in an IEP or 504. Our administration is surprisingly supportive of teachers' decisions to do this. In fact, it's in the school policies that teachers don't have to accept late work, although not all teachers adhere to that. there are many teachers who take late work up until the last day of school, which to me is ridiculous.

At 10/24/11, 4:14 PM, Blogger Kim said...

I allow students to turn in missing work for a particular unit up to and including the date of the unit test. My philosophy is that part of the assignment's goal is to prepare them for the test, so as long as it's completed before the test, then it's served that purpose. Once that test hits the desk, though, I don't accept any late work. I encourage students to complete work and turn it in early by giving 2 bonus points for any assignment turned in before the day of the test.

For me, this is easier than keeping track of how many extra days or extra blocks each student with an IEP or 504 plan gets.

At 10/25/11, 8:41 AM, Blogger Ms Characterized said...

I take late work. I remove half of what they earned from their behavior grade (5% of total). It's more administrative work, but it means that the grade more accurately reflects skills mastery. If it makes the difference between an A and a B, that's when I can say, "Look, your behavior is not A behavior."

Our district is pushing for grades that only show skills mastery. But it isn't fair that someone can ignore deadlines and possibly get a better score than someone who turned work in on time.

At 10/27/11, 12:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a parent, I want teachers to deduct points for lateness, and not accept work at all after a certain point. It just sends the wrong message to accept late work, which makes the teacher's job much harder, with no consequence, although I do understand the rationale behind grading for achievement more than compliance. I also have a hard time seeing why an IEP or 504 would result in permission to turn in work late. A better accomodation is to have students with those designations have different homework that they CAN get in on time. Especially since so many kids have those designations because of ADD, and what they need most is to learn how to do things in a timely way.

At 11/3/11, 11:08 PM, Blogger banders said...

Our school policy regarding late work is that there is a penalty for late work, and it's up to the teacher.

Last year I moved the late work penalty off students' academic grades and onto their citizenship grade. Students who turned in late work were still able to show mastery of the required academic skills, while still facing a consequence. Too many late assignments results in a lower citizenship grade. The lower citizenship grade means they do not get to participate in the school reward activities for the term.

The academic grade is accurate to the student's skill mastery. The behavior grade accurately reflects their behavior and responsibility. Both have school-wide consequences.

At 11/12/11, 12:29 PM, Blogger Cheryl said...

I teach elementary school, and I accept late work with a penalty. They lose one grade point per day. So if it's late enough, there's no point in turning it in. There are extenuating circumstances that would allow them to turn in late work with no penalty.

My son is in jr. high. I like what his teachers do. They give a few tickets for late work, which have to be signed by a parent. That gives them a few chances each quarter.

I changed to teaching from another career. I have NEVER encountered a boss who wouldn't extend a deadline (if they could) for a real reason, even if that reason was "I'm overwhelmed." So all this "Late work wouldn't fly in the real world" is b.s.

Kids have homework deadlines EVERY SINGLE DAY. Most adults don't have daily deadlines. Life happens. Why do we expect so much more from children than we do from adults?

At 11/12/11, 12:31 PM, Blogger Cheryl said...

Just a P.S.-- Most of my college professors at 4 different 4-year universities, from 1982 to my just-completed masters, accepted late work. Some with penalty, some without, dependent on the circumstances.

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