Frustrated with late work!!!

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by really?, Feb 23, 2010.

  1. really?

    really? Rookie

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    Feb 23, 2010

    Am I the only one left out there who believes assignments should be turned in on time????

    I have had two parents e-mail me tonight asking if their children could make up missing assignments. In my syllabus, I explained that I do not accept late work. Later in the year, I re-evaluated my policy. I changed it to I would accept work one day late for half credit. My initial reaction is "no, it's too late."

    My principal is leaning towards having teachers accept missing assignments. I see the point. Yes, we want them to learn. But what is the cost?

    I teach sophomore language arts. I do accept major papers late. Those go down a letter grade each day those are late. I just have a problem with daily work being accepted late, especially about six weeks late.

    I have already overhead students say "I'll turn it in later" for classes where accepting late work is acceptable. Also, the work in question is reading guides for a novel. We just watched the film of the novel in class.

    I would be open to what you have to say. I am a little worked up over this. Maybe I should just suck it up and go with the times, but the thought of it makes me sick to my stomach.
     
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  3. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    I allow 3 late assignments per quarter. They can be turned in by the end of the term. Late projects/papers only get a 2 day extension. After than all late work is a big fat zero.
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I don't allow late work unless it's for an absence or something approved/excused.

    My gradebook is set up in such a way that a student's grade isn't really affected by failing to turn in work. Truthfully, a student could do NO assignments and his or her grade would only decrease by half a letter grade.

    Even if I did accept late work, I wouldn't take off points for it. I don't think that a student's grade should reflect behavior stuff (and late work would be a behavior thing, to me). It should only be about whether the student understood the material and to what extent.

    If a student fails to turn in a large project, I have no choice but to give a zero. If the student presents no evidence of mastery, a zero is my only option. Too bad for the student. I make my expectations clear and students must meet them in order to be successful in my class.
     
  5. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    Late work is not accepted at my school without a parent note. Parents are made aware of this policy at the get go. I agree that turning work in late is a sign of poor behavior (poor choices) but it DOES affect their mastery if they aren't putting in the work necessary to get there. So, we do count the zeros and it does affect their overall grade. Grades and behavior go hand in hand for us. Students need to have a grasp on their behavior in order to get the grades they want. I gues we see it as an early life lesson. Are we being too harsh maybe?
     
  6. Mr. A

    Mr. A Rookie

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    Here's a heretical concept...

    With 180 hours in a classroom, there's no need for much homework at all.
     
  7. Jem

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    Dh left this morning for a business trip. It's a HUGE presentation, and the guy directly under him was suppose to finish up the Powerpoint days ago so it could be approved. I had to eat half my dinner alone last night because dh had to keep leaving the table at the restaurant to call and beg this guy to please e-mail it to him so he could see it before he left. This guy is 23, and I can't help but think that maybe if he knew the consequences for being late with things, he might work a little harder to hit the deadline. It seems this happens all the time at dh's office, and he says that's just the way his colleagues work. Ridiculous!!

    Stay strong! These kids are going to be in an office someday, possibly working for your dhs. Don't let your dinners be interrupted because they don't know how to meet deadlines. ;)
     
  8. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    What about in an AP class? What about in any class preparing students for college? We need to PREPARE them for college. Not giving homework won't do that.
     
  9. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Agreed.

    For AP classes in particular, homework is essential. There's no way to even simply cover all the material during class, much less actually discuss, evaluate, or analyze the material.
     
  10. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    I've found in even my Master's classes, if a professor tells you that everything can be turned in late-everyone will turn it in late. If there's no penalty for turning in things late, then there's no reason to do it on time. It starts to make due dates meaningless.
     
  11. really?

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    Thanks for the responses so far. (Yes, I am up at 3:00 a.m. feeding my baby :) ).

    I have been thinking about both sides of this coin for awhile now, and I keep coming back to believing due dates are important. As for no homework, I don't think I give that much work to be done outside of class. Most of the time, I give the end of the period to work on the assignment. Students may have to finish up during study time or at home. We did read the short novel Of Mice and Men mostly outside of class. We discussed reading assignments and did assignments over the reading in class. The students who didn't read the book have grades that reflect that.

    As far as grades showing behavior--I'm still thinking about that, as well. The way my gradebook is set up, tests and quizzes show mastery, and homework, classwork, projects, and papers do have the behavior element figured in. I think my parents in question would be equally upset if I only took grades on tests and papers.

    I don't know. I agree that if students didn't have due dates, why do the students have to turn in anything before the end of the quarter? It's also frustrating when I give them classtime, and many students want to goof off or talk to their friends instead of working.

    I am still thinking about this...
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    My kids are allowed to miss, then make up for full credit, 3 homework assignmente per marking period. Sometimes life DOES get in the way of homework. When it happens to us, as teachers, we re-organize our plans. I think kids should get the same break.

    When it comes to larger assignments,like projects,I listen to the reason.

    If practice ran late, or the printer broke, then I'm sorry, but it's late and there's a penalty.

    If grandma died, it's a different matter.
     
  13. Mr. A

    Mr. A Rookie

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    Feb 24, 2010

    AP is a college-level course.

    That's a different story.
     
  14. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    There are many classes other than AP which should require some homework.

    I teach a foreign language. As you might imagine, there are lots of vocabulary words for students to learn. Classroom exposure to these words is not enough. Students must spend time outside of class working on their vocabulary. I'm not asking for hours and hours....I ask for about 2-3 minutes per day. That's my expectation.

    Also, there are times when students need to practice the work outside the classroom. While in the classroom, students have access to a variety of resources, including the textbook, their peers, and me. Sometimes it's easy for a student to think that he understands the material when he's in class, but when he's at home he realizes that he doesn't understand it at all. That lets the student (and me) know that he needs to get help.

    Again, I don't see the value in hours of homework, at least not in my subject area. I really do believe that home time is family time and should be spent accordingly. Even so, I feel that it's totally acceptable for me to ask students to do 20-30 minutes of homework per night. I think it was Alice who mentioned that she tells her students to spend X amount of time on the assignment and then stop. If it takes much longer than that, then something is wrong. I like this idea and I use it with my students.
     
  15. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I totally agree that life gets in the way sometimes. For me, the best workaround is to minimize the value of homework assignments. I am just no good at keeping track of all my students and all the late work they would give me if they could.

    When it comes to large assignments, I am not unreasonable. Obviously if a student had some major crisis, I would find a way to work with the student. I'm not heartless. :lol: It's just that those situations are not the norm, so I address them as they arise. My general expectation is that students complete work on time. I find that most of my students who fail to turn in work on time simply chose not to do it. I'm not willing to accommodate them in that situation.
     
  16. Mr. A

    Mr. A Rookie

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    But what's best for kids?

    What will best ensure that kids have mastered the subject matter in concrete, measurable ways?

    My bet is that parents would be more pleased knowing that you were grading on that basis than on the basis of something amorphous like effort.
     
  17. really?

    really? Rookie

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    Mr. A,

    You have a valid point. I'm going to pm you.
     
  18. CindyBlue

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    (Sorry, this is long...I'm ranting... :) )
    I think there's more to it than just the subject matter, especially in elementary school, jr high, and high school. We are teaching children, and we as the adults are supposed to be teaching them much more than just the subject matter in our classes. We are helping prepare them for their responsibilities as adults. This means teaching them that turning in work on time is important so we fulfill our team responsibilities at home and at work; and doing work neatly with good spelling and puntuation is important, so others can read and follow their reasoning; and following formats and directions is important, so our work is comparable and understandable to others (and also in case you have a very picky boss!) It's our job as adults to do more than just the subject matter - many children would not learn these lessons in responsibility and good work habits if it weren't for teachers and parents who are willing to do the extra work - and take the extra flack! - that teaching responsibility and good work habits entails. I teach them by encorporating them into my curriculum, both into the lesson itself (follow directions and formats) and the classroom structure (be courteous and contribute in a positive manner, etc. and turn in your work on time, presented properly (papers in order, headings done as asked, etc.)) High school learning is more than subject matter - college can, and should, be much more subject matter oriented. Yet time after time I hear that if a student doesn't head her college papers correctly or follow directions, they are thrown out or given no points, because those directions were given in the syllabus and they were expected to be followed. Time and time again I hear that buisnesses expect their employees to be on time with projects submissions and to follow the company formats for reports - and have good attendance at work! So if the students in our classes aren't given a chance to learn these skills now, in our classes, by us just when and where are they supposed to learn them??
     
  19. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    They do need to learn these skills from us. But that doesn't mean that their grade needs to be impacted when they fail to master the skill.

    My standards are along the lines of "6: Students reinforce and further their knowledge of other disciplines through the foreign language." Not one single standard addresses the issue of organization, timeliness, neatness, attention to detail, or attitude. Those things, in my opinion, are citizenship/behavior issues that should be addressed in a separate citizenship/behavior grade. When I put that "B" on someone's report card, I'm saying that they earned a "B" in Latin, not a "B" in Having a good attitude, trying your best, and turning stuff in on time.
     
  20. MrsC

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    :thumb: This is exactly how we are to approach our assessment and evaluation as well. Our provincial report cards have a separate section for reporting on learning skills such as homework completion, independent work, etc.
     
  21. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I agree Cassie.

    Failing to be prepared, not working in class-- those are disciplinary issues, not academic ones. They may bring on a detenion, but they won't have any effect on a child's grade in my class.
     
  22. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    It works very well for me!!

    Realistically, if the whole class can't finish the problems in 20 minutes, either I assigned too many (my fault) or I didn't explain it well (my fault again).

    If one or 2 kids couldn't finish, then either they're working too slowly or they need extra help.

    But it's an easy distinction to draw. Twenty minutes per kid is all the time they should spend doing their math homework, and I make a point of telling the parents that at Meet the Teacher night in the fall.
     
  23. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I wish Lauren's teachers had the same philosophy, Alice. She spent well over an hour on math homework last night. She had no difficulty with the concept, just with the sheer volume of work. (Add to that over an hour of English, 45 minutes of French and 45 minutes of Science--that's a typical night).
     
  24. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I bet you that, if administration had hit each of them with 3 1/2 hours of schoolwork to do after hours, there would have been a revolt!

    I don't think it's necessary, and I don't think it's fair to assume that your class is the only one that matters to a kid, or that his or her life revolves around your class.
     
  25. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Dealing with the workload has been difficult for her this year. Add to that her training demands of over 20 hours/week and you have a very tired girl--thank goodness we have our March Break in 2 weeks.
     
  26. CindyBlue

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    (calming down after rant (smile!))
    OK, everyone, I'm hoping for help in clarification as to what you view as grading for content vs grading for effort, etc. How do you grade a HW paper that is not turned in? Is it a 0? If you are grading for content only, then how do you grade HW if you don't grade every question for the right answer (i.e. checking HW vs grading HW)? How do you grade when student just writes the answer to a math problem on a test but does not show her steps as you asked her to do? Full points for the right answer and no points taken off for lack of work? How do you grade if the student doesn't put his name on the HW (particularly after you've asked him to do so many times before!)? How do you grade a "Notebook"? Aren't these all (turning in HW, showing work, a class notebook, etc.) forms of organization/effort grades? If we grade only for content then shouldn't we be grading only for the right answer, right or wrong, full points or not points?
    And does your school have an effort/perticipation grade that counts toward the grade in the class or gpa? and if not, then if you don't grade for organization etc. in the class then how do you motivate the kids to DO these things??
    This is a great topic - I've been thrashing this around in my mind quite a bit lately!
     
  27. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I think you're overthinking it.

    I walk around the classroom, checking notebooks. I know what the problems look like. Either they're done, not done, or half done. "Done" in my class means showing work. I don't look at the answers, I look quickly at the problems (so I don't see yesterday's classwork) and the amount of work; I know what a typical problem should look like. The kids don't argue; they know what a problem should look like too.

    Our school policy is that our trimester exam counts as 1/3, classroom tests count as 1/3, and quizzes, homeworks and class participation count as 1/3.

    I don't count class participation at all. It's math, not social studies. I see no reason why a quiet kid who doesn't want to raise a hand but who can do the math should suffer. So in my class, quiz average and homework average make up that last third of the report card grade.
     
  28. MsMar

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    For projects I take off 10% each day it's late. My students complain. I don't care. They need to 1- take some responsibility and do work when it's due, and not procrastinate and do it when they feel like it, and 2- it's WAY easier to grade a set of 90 projects over a day or two than it is to get 40, then another 20, then 5, then maybe 10 more, and then, hey, now it's 6 weeks later and here's three more. Really? Why should I STILL be grading projects on a topic we finished covering weeks ago. Um, nope, don't think so!
     
  29. CindyBlue

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    So does this mean that a student's "effort" and "direction following" - i.e. ,turning in her work on time - is counting toward their grade? Because if we only graded on the actual project (i.e., content only) then the kid might have a great project and get an "A" - but because she turned it in late (didn't follow directions ("...it's due today!") or lack of effort (didn't get it done by today!)) she might get a "C." To me, it seems that by taking off points for it being late (or for that matter, for not following directions by not putting the title where you said it should go, or not following the MLA format, etc.) that the effort and direction following is affecting the grade. Comments?
     
  30. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I'm not sure to whose post you're specifically referring. Several posters have commented that they don't take off points for late work, apparent effort, or other behavioral issues.

    In my class, failing to comply with technical requirements like MLA format will result in a lowered grade. My rubric very specifically outlines technical requirements, and students are expected to meet those requirements in order to earn full credit on that portion of the assignment. A student who earns a "2" on the technical portion of the paper didn't understand/master/demonstrate mastery of some aspect of the material.

    I do not, however, take off points for late work. 1) I don't accept late work in most situations. Students know when assignments are due, and I always give plenty of time (and usually plenty of in-class time) for the bigger assignments. My expectation is that they use their time appropriately so that they can be prepared in the event that something unforeseen occurs. You forgot your book at school last night? That's too bad, but how long did you have to work on this assignment? A week and a half? Show me what work you've completed in the time since I assigned the project until last night. Hmm, that's interesting. It doesn't actually look like you've done anything. So you're telling me that although I gave you 10 days to complete this assignment, you waited until the last minute and are now asking me to make special accommodations for you? I don't think that's going to work. Be more on top of things next time around. 2) I assign grades based on the student's ability to demonstrate mastery. If the grade is for "Presents information in the target language to an audience of listeners", then that's what it's for. If the student is able to do that, then his or her grade reflects that. It wouldn't be fair for me to give a student a "2" on that sort of task for being late. A "2" in my class indicates that the student is approaching mastery but not quite there yet. It doesn't indicate that a student totally masters a concept but delivered it late.
     
  31. CindyBlue

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    "It wouldn't be fair for me to give a student a "2" on that sort of task for being late.
    Yet if the student didn't turn it in, but showed it to you and you could see that they did, indeed, know how to present the information, but they earned a 0 for not turning it in on time because you don't accept it late, than what does that 0 represent? It doesn't indicate mastery (or lack of same) of the subject matter, because the student didn't turn it in at all so we don't know if they mastered it or not, just that they didn't turn it in. Yet the 0 goes into the grade and brings it down, indicating that the student doesn't knto the subject matter...see what I mean?
    I'm trying to figure out how to hold students accountable to following directions and deadlines, and so far the only way I've been able to do it is by letting them choose to earn the points available or not. And the points available in a HW assignment include two things - following directions, and trying every problem (in my case, math HW.) I don't want to grade every problem in a HW assignment, because I don't think that the first time a student tries a new concept that she should be penalized if she gets it wrong. So my HW points are strictly on effort (try every problem) and and following directions. Tests have a measure of this too - they need to show the steps or they earn no credit, because 1) cheating is a problem, and 2) I need them to be able to defend their answer with steps to back it up. How does this figure into grading strictly on mastery of the math? I.e., is it fair to include direction following skills into a test grade or should it be specifically on whether or not they got the right answer?
     
  32. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    A student who failed to turn in an assignment provided no evidence of mastery. No evidence of mastery = 0.

    If a student submitted an assignment late, after I had graded and returned other students' assignments, I can't be certain that the student didn't copy the work from a peer. For that reason, the work that the student submits late shows no evidence of mastery, which equals a zero.
     
  33. CindyBlue

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    Oh, my goodness, Cassie 753 and Aliceacc and everyone- it's as if a lightbulb suddenly went on in my head!!! I understand now! I know that what I'm doing is right and reasonable and necessary for kids - I just couldn't figure out a way to communicate it and then grade it fairly. I CAN have organization and direction following and HW completion goals in my courses - I just need to write my outcomes and rubrics to reflect those goals more specifically. If I make them a specific part of the course description, and describe the outcomes clearly, then they are specifically a learning goal in my class and they can therefore be used as part of the grading procedure!
    OMG, I may actually get some sleep tonight for the first time in ages! I've been having such a tough time lately - it's as if I've lost my "center" as a teacher. I feel so much better - the time I will have to spend re-writing my goals will be SO worth it!
    THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH for putting up with my struggles to figure out my very difficult philosophical dilemma! I owe you all a large box of chocolate!!!!
     
  34. Mr. A

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    Feb 28, 2010

    So why the "sheer volume of work" if she knows the stuff already?

    She should be learning how to play a musical instrument or doing something else that's fun.
     
  35. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I wish I knew the answer--only her teachers know that. However, when homework is assigned, it gets done, even if I don't necessarily see the value. She does do lots that's fun--school sports, and the highest level of competitive soccer in the province--and it's difficult for a 16 year-old to develop the balance (she really does have no time for a social life). I wish more teachers shared Alice's philosophy of 20 minutes for homework for one subject.
     
  36. Brendan

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    Homework depends on the class. Up to AP (11/12th grade highest level), I only assign 20-30 minutes of homework of nightly reading and responding. However, if students wait until the last minute for long term assignments this may be a problem. In my AP US class, I break up their homework by night (noting only the page numbers they should read) and what questions they should do on their homework. However, if students wait until the last minute, the chapter assignment may take 2-3 hours. As they have to read 30 pages, answer questions, define terms, and often complete a mini-reading response project.
     
  37. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    But Brendan, if you're breaking it down to manageable chunks, then it's up to them to do the assignments. If they choose to let everything wait until the last minute, they have only themselves to blame.

    I think the problem is with teachers who assume that their 2 hours per night is the ONLY homework the kids are assigned.
     
  38. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Kids respond VERY well to fairness. You can be as tough as you want to be, as long as they're warned in advance.

    I'm glad we were able to help.

    But skip the chocolates; I'm still determined to lose a few more pounds :)
     
  39. Brendan

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    I know, but some of my top students (I.E. the four boys who sit to my right) all have As and they admittedly wait until the last minute to do their work and it is still good.
     
  40. Mr. A

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    Kids need fun more than they need redundant homework (which most of it is).

    Besides, 20 minutes per class is at least 100 minutes a day of homework.

    If she has homework in each class for 80% of her school days, that's 240 hours of homework a year.

    If every kid had that much homework, and if every minute of that homework was valid, focused, and appropriate, then we'd have a nation of geniuses.
     
  41. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I agree completely.

    I think that so many teachers get so caught up in trying to "get through" the material that they forget that students need time for socialization, interaction with their peers, family responsibilities, and general fun, teenagery stuff.

    I guess what we all can do is start implementing our own policy of X number of minutes per night and hope that our colleagues follow suit.
     

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