Okay, friends, I need some advice. I've struggled with the issue of late/absent work since I started teaching. I'm going to outline some of the biggest problems here, including what I've tried, what's worked and what hasn't worked. I'd like your feedback, please. What has worked for you? What hasn't worked? Do you have any amazing ideas that might work in my classroom? Some background: I teach in an urban school, which means lots of behaviors, absenteeism, and homework non-compliance. I also have extremely large classes. Two of my classes are multi-level split classes, where there are multiple courses seated in the same room at the same time. I very rarely assign homework other than a standing assignment to review vocabulary every day for 2 or 3 minutes. Occasionally students will have to finish work that was not completed in class. Most of the time, however, I give time in class to work on activities. This is because I can monitor them and make sure that they're not cheating, so that they can use me as a resource, and, frankly, because I know that it is unlikely that they will do homework at all. I'd rather have them do it in my classroom during class than not at all. Our school's absent work policy is that a student gets three days to turn in work missed due to an absence. I have to comply with this policy and I generally agree with it. My biggest problem here is that many students are absent every day. There are regularly 3 or 4 students gone in every class period, sometimes many more than that. On Friday last week I had 7 students gone in one period, 8 gone in another, and 15 gone in another. All these absences are very difficult for me to keep up with, organizationally speaking. How do you do it? Furthermore, I don't usually have worksheets or bookwork for students. Most of the time I deliver a short lesson and go over some guided practice with students, then have them do some independent practice activities. I don't normally have materials to set aside for absent students. If they're gone, they miss important instruction, and it's very hard to make that up. How do you do it? To date, I've had them get notes from a classmate and given them instructions to meet with me if they still don't understand. Generally they don't make arrangements to meet with me. It doesn't work for me to have or make additional practice activities due to the nature of the material. Without getting into a big discussion about the hows and whys of that, I'll just say that there are limitations on the number of practice questions and sentences that I can create because of the limited number and type of vocabulary words they know. I've tried doing workarounds, but it's just something that doesn't work in my class. Then there's the issue of correcting or going over work that has been turned in. If a student has been absent, I typically will send him out of the room while we go over the assignment (and the student receives instructions to work on the activity). The problem here is obviously that the student will never have a chance to go over the work with the rest of the class. He may miss important corrections. It's unlikely that he will come in on his own time to discuss the work with me and make corrections, so he just misses it. That causes problems down the road for obvious reasons. So those are some of my problems with absent work. Now onto the issue of late work.... I don't like accepting late work. This is difficult for me because I tend to be of the belief that some students take longer to grasp a concept than others. Even so, I feel like accepting late work opens me up to a lot more plagiarized work. I've noticed that a fair number of students tend to copy work from classmates or online sources. I feel like if I allow students to turn in work after the due date, after we've gone over the work and corrected it in class or after I've handed it back with corrections, that it's very likely that several students will simply copy someone else's work. I hate the idea of giving credit for this plagiarized work, but it's so difficult for me to determine when work has been copied that it would surely happen from time to time. This problem of plagiarism applies not only to late work in cases where students have simply been lazy or not understood the work, but also with absent work. I find that students who are absent will often copy another classmate's work rather than attempting it on their own. In the past I've allowed students to turn in work at basically any time within the quarter. This is a paperwork nightmare for me, given the number of students that I have. I can't handle receiving literally 1,000 pieces of paper in the week before the end of the quarter. It's a mess. Plus, most of the work is probably plagiarized. The teacher next door to me has a two-week rule--no late work accepted after two weeks. His students accept this rule. I don't believe that mine would, and I believe that mine would become argumentative and defiant. I think that it has to do with gender roles and some other things, which is a bigger issue than I want to get into now. This year I've tried applying a 50% penalty for late work. If a student turns in work late, not due to an absence, it will automatically lose 50%. Ethically, I dislike this policy for the reasons I mentioned above. Logistically and practically, it seems to work better than a free-for-all situation where I accept late work at any time for any reason. It also seems to work better than me not accepting any late work at all--kids get very upset about zeros, even if those zeros are happening because students are being lazy or off task. This is turning into an enormous post, so I'm going to stop it here. There's probably more to my situation than I've posted, so feel free to ask questions. I'll share more information as it seems appropriate. I really value the advice of the userbase here, and I hope that you guys have some ideas for me. I'm willing to change things up and do things differently if it means that more of my students will understand the material and perform better. I would like to not add a whole bunch of extra work to my already-full workload, though, so just keep that in mind. Thank you so much.