I hate to have to do this, but....

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Caesar753, Sep 23, 2012.

  1. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Sep 23, 2012

    It looks like I'm going to have to play "teacher-mom" and really get on my students this year about their missing work. In the past, my attitude has always been that these kids are in high school and should be responsible enough to get their work turned in. With some administrative changes, however, I don't think that's going to cut it any longer. We're being evaluated on our numbers, specifically our pass/fail rates. While my fail rates have always been very low, much lower than most other classes in fact, I want to find a way to decrease them even more. One way to do that is to increase my homework compliance rates.

    So my question is: how exactly do I do this?

    I post grades online and in the classroom. Students should know exactly what they're missing. Even so, I'm thinking that I'm going to have to run a report of missing work and talk to kids individually about their missing assignments. This will need to happen at least once per week, I think.

    I'm thinking of printing up a list of missing work for each student and then having each student sign some sort of list indicating that they have been made aware of their missing work and its due date. Does that sound reasonable? Does anyone have such a form or ideas about what to put on mine?

    Is there a better way for me to increase homework compliance?

    (I should add that when I say "homework", I really mean classwork and unfinished classwork. I assign true homework very rarely, if ever.)

    I appreciate any suggestions and advice you have to offer!
     
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  3. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Sigh...

    I am afraid that for students who are not completing in-class work, having them sign a weekly report of missing tasks will only serve to prove you shared that information with them (even though you already do through your postings in class and online). Those students will sign it and move on with life. They know they are missing those assignments, I am sure. They just don't care.

    I think it's very difficult to motivate that type of student. Is there any sort of study or catch-up period? I doubt it, but just thought I'd ask...if so, that would be something to use to your advantage.

    If only recess was had in high school! :)
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I don't disagree with you. Part of the purpose of having students sign a missing work sheet is to have some hard evidence to show my admin or parents if the need ever arises. I guess my hope is that it will push even just a couple of students into getting their work done and turned in. Every little bit helps. I really am trying to find a way to make things better, even if it's just one small step at a time. Our school is under some very intense scrutiny at all levels--district, state, and federal. It's stressful, and I don't want to give anyone an opportunity to say that I didn't do enough. You know what I'm saying?

    There isn't any sort of study period, although I strongly believe that we should have that built into our schedule. :( The most I can hope for is a weekly mandatory "study hall" that some of the coaches do before practice.
     
  5. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    Sep 23, 2012

    I had a huge missing work problem last year. I had to,accept work up until grades went in to keep kids from failing. I hated it! This was a school wide problem.

    This year, I am posting due dates everywhere I can think, encouraging kids who are almost finished to just turn it in anyway, and being very strict about taking 20% off per day. So far, it seems pretty good.

    We will see. If attendance stays good, I think I'll be ok. One huge issue last year was that students would skip and never make up work. This year, it's 20% off right off the bat if their absence was not excused.

    We do have a study period, but I'm not sure what good it does. Math and English have priority.

    Oh. Last year, I also did those mini conferences every week or two. I printed grade sheets and badgered kids. It worked, but only at the end of the quarter; until then, there was no urgency because they knew full well that I couldn't fail them all.

    And, badgered is indeed the correct word choice. :banghead::banghead::banghead::banghead:
     
  6. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Absolutely. And you're right that every little bit helps.
     
  7. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Sep 23, 2012

    That's what I'm afraid I'm going to have to do, too. :(
     
  8. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    It wasted so freaking much class time.
     
  9. GTB4GT

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    I feel your pain. I am going in the opposite direction though - last year I stayed on top of my kids but this year I leave it up to them. My gradebook is available online 24/7 so a student should know what they are missing.My P is not very happy with my policy but I have high school kids, we have to give them responsibility for their actions. I will take late work (with reduced grades) to provide some flexibility. Last year I found I was worrying more about my student's grades than they were. I think they have become accustomed to this and behave accordingly.
     
  10. MathTeacher29

    MathTeacher29 Rookie

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    I had a class one semester that I had to make a make up work day once per marking period a few days before it ended. I would hand the student any missing assignments, quizzes and tests they had and have them work on them. Some of the students who had so much work they couldn't finish it in 90 minutes actually stayed after school. Students who didn't have any make up work worked in groups on a review. You do end up with a large stack of papers to grade all at once though.
     
  11. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Honestly, if you want to really motivate them, have them work during their lunch period. I know it would never work at a high school (all the different lunch periods) but you might see more students completing their work to save this time with their friends.
     
  12. platypusok

    platypusok Companion

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    I have a dry erase board on my closet door, if a kid is missing work his or her name goes on the board (I have a couple of parents who pop in and check it out too and then ask for what their kid is missing).

    A week before the marking period ends, I give my classes a free day if they have all the work turned in. If they don't, they move to desk by mine and work.
     
  13. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    I would need a white board as big as the Moon.
     
  14. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Sep 24, 2012

    Ditto.
     
  15. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    My colleague who also teaches senior English got this from a friend in another state, and she and I are piloting it this year: we don't allow students to not turn in assignments. When something is due and a student doesn't have it in hand, we immediately assign an "Opportunity Period" that day at lunch or the following morning at 6:15 a.m. to complete the work (they also lose points). She takes lunch, and since I have a 7 a.m. class, I take the early shift. If a student doesn't show up for that opportunity, they get a second opportunity AND a detention. We'll let it go three times, and then we will give a zero on the assignment.

    We did this because we were ending up with 3-5 seniors who were failing second semester simply because they didn't hand in the work. So far, it's going well; I collected an assignment the other day but was too busy to log it in for various reasons, and one student showed up at lunch without being told to!
     
  16. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Sep 25, 2012

    Early update:

    Yesterday I started handing out missing assignment slips. I probably handed out around a dozen slips. By the end of the day today, I've gotten 7 of those assignments turned in. In most cases, the students had the work but just neglected to turn it in. I heard a lot of "Oh, I have that!" when I handed out the slips.

    I think that 7/12 assignments turned in is a pretty solid number--that's over 50%. I realize that this is still early in the process, but I think it's a good sign. I will keep doing it as long as I keep getting good numbers like that.
     
  17. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    That's tremendous!
     
  18. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    What I've started doing is requiring that ALL class work be turned in, finished or not. If it is unfinished, I scan it over, enter an estimated grade in the book, then return the paper.

    If I get it back, I grade it properly and enter in the real grade. If I never see it again, at least the kid got some credit.

    For some bizarre reason, a crappy grade in the grade book is more motivational than a zero. I don't get it at all: a 30 or 49 lights a fire under them to fix it, but a wall of zeros can stay recorded until the crack of doom and they don't care.

    Teenage logic--I don't pretend to begin to understand.
     
  19. GTB4GT

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    nor do I. Have we been blessed or cursed by our inability to remember with clarity those years of our lives?

    every day at school when I watch these people, I am reminded of the Dickens' line....'they were the best of times and the worst of times' or WTTE.;)
     
  20. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Nov 4, 2012

    Update:

    We've just finished our first grading period. I realized as I was entering grades that I only gave out one F--total! Normally during the first grading period I give out 10-12 Fs, so this is a huge decrease. Since about 75% of my students this year are students I had last year, I know that something drastic has happened with their performance/grades/something.

    My method seems to be having some effect. It hasn't been as perfect as I wanted it to be, but it does seem to be a significant improvement. I've noticed that there are still a lot of missing assignments when I first collect an assignment--but more students are turning in their work, even a couple of days late, once I hand out missing work slips. I guess I can be pleased with that, for now anyway.

    Any ideas on how to reduce the number of missing assignments in the first place?
     
  21. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Would a sticker or stamp on work turned in on time work?
     
  22. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    No, I don't think that would work.
     
  23. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Is there anything small that they would go for? An extra 5 min. at the end of the period, choice of where to sit. What about a phone call home for the chronic never turn their paper in on time & then they do? (It's a happy call!)

    A Wall of Fame, your name goes up when you turn a piece of work in on time.

    I don't know, I work the other end, Kindergarten.
     
  24. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Great improvement! But your question...ah, that always seems impossible. I am of the mindset that high school students shouldn't be rewarded for completing assignments...at least not on a systematic basis. Random treats, okay. But "bribery", not okay. That's just my opinion, of course, and I realize others disagree.
     
  25. mrsenglish

    mrsenglish Rookie

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    I assign students times to physically meet with me (home room, PRT, after school). Failure to show up results in a detention. I cleared this with administration first and then sent an email to parents about the situation.
     
  26. GTB4GT

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    Maybe off topic but how can this possibly be a goal of a competent administrator? I teach mathematics and I know that content can be manipulated to produce higher grades and stay within the context of the standards. I would hate to sacrifice rigor to meet some sort of quota.

    Pass/fail rates can be manipulated fairly easily. This is well intentioned I am sure but not very well thought out.Not directed at you, just your administration.
     
  27. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Any ideas on how to reduce the number of missing assignments in the first place?

    How about an incentive of anyone who turns in all their work on time each day in a week on Friday can_____ (maybe participate in a class review game like Jeapardy for 15-20 min.) while the others do a seat work assignment?
     
  28. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Caesar---so glad it's working for you! Are students not turning in work because they are absent or late to class, they don't have it finished (doesn't seem to be the case with some students) or just don't remember to turn it in?
     
  29. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    All of the above.
     
  30. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    When I was teaching 6th grade, I had several "regulars" that simply would not turn in any work. I thought that would change when they saw what it did to their report cards, but they didn't seem bothered by that at all. So I finally stopped giving them the option of NOT doing the work.

    Every week, I wrote the names on the board and the work they were missing. I gave them 1 day to bring the work in if they had already done it. After that, I made them come to my room during recess to make up the work. They continued coming to my room each day until ALL the assignments were completed. That cut down on late homework in a hurry

    I'm facing the same problem with my current 8th graders. I have a few that simply turn in ZERO work and don't care at all what it does to their grade. So, last week, I printed a list of missing assignments for ALL of my classes. I gave these out on Thursday and pointed out the paper had to be SIGNED by a Parent or Guardian, then RETURNED to me. I explained to the students that I had a second copy of every list I had printed and would be matching up the signed copies with my copies. On Monday, I would see which of my copies did NOT have a matching signed copy attached to it and would begin contacting those parents by phone or email. So - one way or the other - their parents WILL know they are NOT doing their work; three of my students not only returned their signed copies the next day, they also brought in all the missing assignments as well.
     
  31. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    How do you prompt students to turn in work? Maybe have a turn in at the beginning of the class and at the end of the class (for students who have already finished the classwork).

    For absent students, attach their name to a folder to prompt you to ask for the work the next day (or to prompt them to turn in the work and remove their clip from the folder).
     
  32. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jan 12, 2013

    Another update:

    Well, I've been implementing this system for about two quarters now. I'm pretty pleased to say that I do think that my numbers of Ds and Fs have decreased significantly compared to years past. I'm looking at failure rates of less than 5%, and in some classes there are no Fs at all. I do believe that these extremely low failure rates are due to my incessant hounding and nagging. Hey, anything helps, right?

    Basically, what I've been doing is printing up each student's missing assignments every week. I hand out these missing work slips at the beginning of the period during the bellringer, and it only takes about 5 minutes. I instruct students to get their work in as quickly as possible. They are not allowed to do their missing work during class time unless they finish the regular activity first. They have to turn in their missing work into a special basket labeled "Late Work".

    My system hasn't eliminated the missing work issue at all. I'm noticing that just as many students fail to turn in work on time. So far I haven't found a solution for that. What is happening is that students do seem to be making more of an effort to get that work in, even if it's a week late (or more). I don't know if that's because they're tired of me nagging them or because they just need more time to understand the material, but I guess I'll take it.

    This semester I haven't penalized students for turning in work after the due date. I am tossing around the idea of some sort of academic penalty for late work next semester, but I'm torn. On the one hand, I really hate the idea of academic sanctions for what are basically behavioral problems. On the other hand, there are still a few students who literally wait until the last possible day to turn in work (last day of the quarter) and then turn in 25 assignments all at once. That's a huge overload for me, and I don't think it's at all beneficial to students when their practice work is done so long after the fact that it doesn't help them on their tests and quizzes. I'm thinking that I might take 20-30% off on any work that is turned in late--so the max score possible would be 70-80%. My thinking on this is sort of in three parts:
    1. I want students to turn in work on time in order to earn full credit.
    2. If students legitimately need more time to understand material, I don't want their grades to be destroyed by late work. A bunch of assignments in at 70% or 80% won't kill their grades.
    3. I want students who regularly turn in their work on time to receive some sort of benefit, otherwise what's the point? If they get 100% for work done on time and everyone else gets 100% for work done weeks late, that's not exactly fair.

    Thoughts? Feedback?

    I will say that I've compared my failure rates (and my Ds) to those of one of the Spanish classes. The other teacher and I have a similar population of students, but her class grades are much lower than mine. Her failure rates are about 25%, and she has about the same number of Ds. This means that half of her students either have Ds or Fs. I'm worried that this will cause admin to look at her numbers more closely, and I don't want that to happen to me. She and I have very similar teaching styles and activities, so I'm reasonably certain that her class isn't harder than mine; in fact, I might argue that mine is a lot harder than hers. The difference seems to be this system of hounding students to turn in their late work, which I do and she doesn't do. Hmmmm.... I will definitely need to do some more experimenting and research on this.
     
  33. 2ndTimeAround

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    It sounds like you've fallen into the same routine that many of my coworkers have - basically give the students grades so you don't catch flak from the administration. I hate it, frankly. Policies like these just encourage students to be slack and makes it harder for other teachers that want to maintain high standards. Kinda like how Disney Dads make it difficult for single moms to get kids to bed on time. However, I understand the pressure and fear. I haven't felt it enough to make me change policies in my room. I hope I don't ever. It really upsets me that administrators back teachers into to the corner like this. I even have coworkers that give Cs to students so they don't have to do all of the paperwork that accompanies a D or F student.

    One thing I did last year regarding late/no work, worked VERY well. But it requires the full support of admin, which I had then but I doubt I'd have now. The kids that don't turn in assignments work on those assignments the day you discover they're missing. If you're lecturing about chapter ten and they missed a report for chapter nine, oh well. They sit there and do the assignment.They can get the notes later. They max grade they can get depends upon the class policy. In my class students get 15 points off each day an assignment is late. After three days late, no credit. They do get reminders every day to turn in any late work. If I realize on day four that someone didn't submit an assignment, he still had to do it but because it was four days late, he would not get any credit for it.

    Now, students and parents were UPSET about the policy. Why bother doing it if Johnny would get a zero anyhow? Which is exactly what I asked my principal when she suggested it. The principal said that if I assigned it for a grade I must have thought it was worthy enough to do and that importance didn't diminish a week later when no points would be awarded. She said that if a student refused to complete the assignment in class then it became an insubordination issue and I should send him to the office. It worked pretty well. Kids figured that they'd have to do it anyhow, might as well do it on time and get credit for it.

    But I didn't do it this year. Just didn't think it would fly so I didn't attempt it. And I do have lower grades than last year.
     
  34. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Whoa. I don't think that I'm "giving" anyone any grades. I'm giving students multiple opportunities to do their own work and be successful.
     
  35. 2ndTimeAround

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    Ok, point taken.

    Since you're working for mastery, do you give all of the students a chance to redo assignments they submitted on time?

    I just can't get behind all the hand-holding. Maybe when I've been in the system a bit longer I'll change. Thankfully our district's mission statement clearly states that we are to make sure that our students graduate ready for college or the workforce. Way too many of my students just assume that they can pick and choose what work they do and I simply cannot encourage that thinking. Holding them accountable, and letting them see the consequences of laziness, is part of my job.

    But don't get me wrong, I get caught up in nagging and reminding sometimes too. When I do it though, I feel like I'm dragging them behind me and the weight is mighty heavy. Sometimes I just don't have the energy to be more concerned about their grades than they are.

    Something that might help you, that I do, is be a bit more proactive with assignments. Especially bigger ones. I email parents on the day that they are assigned (I also email when I send out progress reports). It has helped, but unfortuately some of the kids that are more likely to blow off an assignment are also the ones that don't have involved parents or internet access :(
     
  36. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jan 12, 2013

    I do give everyone the chance to redo assignments and tests until they are comfortable with their score.

    Believe me, I'm not a fan of hand-holding. At the same time, I'm not a fan of massive failure rates, failing to meet our school's SIG goals, my school getting shut down by the feds, or me losing my job. If I have to work harder to push my students, then I will do it.

    Phone calls and emails to parents doesn't work. I teach in an inner-city school, one of the roughest in the district and the most violent in the state. What works in "regular" schools doesn't work here. It stands to reason that things might work in my school that don't work or aren't necessary in "regular" schools.

    I thought that my plan was a good idea, especially since it seems to be getting me results. My grades aren't inflated. I feel like what I've been doing has eliminated the need to inflate grades, which many of my colleagues have had to do--by curving tests or throwing out assignments and quizzes. Right now, though, I'm getting the feeling that you think what I'm doing is wrong.
     
  37. 2ndTimeAround

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    No, not wrong, just not ideal in high school. I think at this age all students know what is expected of them and they choose not to do it. I do think that policies like yours make it harder for students to know what a deadline really means. But I don't have a perfect solution that has worked with my inner city kids either. If they fail my class they have to take it again. It doesn't make our school look good. But I get really tired of public perception being more important than integrity so I admittedly have a sour taste over things like this. IMO, if kids had been held accountable since elementary school there would be fewer issues like this.

    I got asked yesterday if there was anything that three students could do to bring up their failing grade. By three different people. The expectation was that I work through lunch and stay after because the kids finally wanted to pass. As if one afternoon could make up for 90 days. Two of those people said that is what other teachers did for the kids in the past. To me, taking late work like that actually TRAINS students to not do their work on time.
     
  38. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jan 12, 2013

    They are already trained to not do their work.
     
  39. 2ndTimeAround

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    Jan 13, 2013

    Sadly, that's true. Right now I have the choice to keep the status quo alive and well or to put my foot down and stop the madness. Right now. Who knows what craziness will come down the line in the future.
     
  40. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I think the point is that Caesar knows what's ahead for these kids if they fail.:2cents:
     
  41. 2ndTimeAround

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    As do I. I have a family member that has been treated this way all of his life. People working harder for him than he does for himself. He's older than I am and has made a lifetime of bad decisions due to his laziness and lack of responsibility.

    His mother passed away recently and now the family is talking about who is going to take over his bills and such. The paying of the bills and the writing of the checks. Because if we (collectively) do not do it, he will be evicted. @@

    While some of my position is based on the fact that I simply do not have the time and energy to baby 200 kids each year, some of it is because I want to avoid the next generation of voters becoming like my family member.
     

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