Late Work

I am curious as to your policies regarding late work.  Will you take a moment and answer this poll (if you are so inclined)?  Feel free to elaborate on your answers in the comments if you wish.  The poll expires Monday evening.

Do you accept late work?

  • Yes, at a significant penalty to the grade. (62%)
  • Only in rare and extenuating circumstances. (20%)
  • Yes, at no penalty. (18%)
  • Never. (0%)

Total Votes: 87

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9 thoughts on “Late Work”

  1. I had a hard time answering the poll because for some assignments I do accept late work and for others I do not.

    I do not accept late or make-up work for in class assignments because those opportunities arise only in class. I also do not accept late weekly journals because I give students a week to complete them and, unless they put it off until the last minute, they should have plenty of time to write.

    I do, however, accept late final drafts of essays if they ask for an extension. If they ask for an extension, their paper will not be docked points.

    If they do not ask for an extension and attempt to turn a paper in late, I will drop the grade one full grade per class period it is late.

    I also have a cut-off date that I will accept work students received an extension on because of issues I have had recently with students who asked for extensions on multiple assignments and procrastinated to the point where they were trying to turn in 2 or 3 poorly written papers the day of the deadline.

    -Carrie F.

  2. This is a very difficult question, as I teach many different levels of English. With some of my unmotivated learners it makes no sense to penalize them, as they are already finding it hard to stay motivated in class.

    In my academic classes, I will grant extensions if asked for in advance of the due date. I find that at these levels, students that hand in late assignments usually hand in assignments that are sub par to begin with, therefore they have penalized themselves.

    The issue for me is that I find I must take and examine each situation, as I have not been able to find a one size fits all solution. My rooms are made up of individuals, and I wish to honour this.

    Some times life throws us all curves…


  3. As a department policy, we allow students to turn in reading and writing assignments late. Because we have grading categories for reading and writing skills, we feel that those assignments should not be docked points for being late – they are supposed to be a skill assessment, not an assessment of the student's ability to turn work in on time. Typically, we pair that reading or writing grade with a "professional" grade, which includes being on time, being formatted correctly, etc. This ensures that we're keeping kids accountable while providing a fair assessment of the students' abilities.

  4. Our department policy is, for the second year, not to accept any late work. However, there are extenuating circumstances, such as in the case of homebound students or makeup work for students who have had extended excused absences (who, by policy, have only the number of days they were absent in which to make up their work).

    Prior to this comprehensive policy, I allowed late work up to two days late and docked it 20 percent for one day late or 40 percent for two days late. I've always been strict about students' work being due at the beginning of class; it's considered late after the request period is up. This remains my policy.

    Although I have to admit that it's nice sometimes to defer to the department's policy and not be the "bad guy" on this issue all the time, I really preferred my own system. I think it's much more realistic to allow late work and teacher discretion enabled a bit of leeway with those unmotivated students, as Stephen mentioned. And it still taught responsibility because their grade was dependent on the assignment's submission grade.

  5. I generally allow minor assignments to be turned in late with no penalty. Major assignments like essays usually have a set deadline with a 10-point-per-day deduction for being turned in late. I am much more lenient with my lower-level students, however. Many of their IEPs specify extra time on assignments, and most of them have great difficulty writing at all, much less getting it to me on time.

  6. I struggle with this question all the time . . . my policy for my upper-level students is that I don't accept late work. BUT. There are always those situations when technology fails (and the kid couldn't help it) or something awful is going on at home when I generally give them a break. I've also accepted large assignments–those that make the difference between failing and not failing–and offered half credit. With my lower-level and remedial students, I typically allow late work with deductions.

    I was interested in thehurt's comment that "we feel that those assignments should not be docked points for being late – they are supposed to be a skill assessment, not an assessment of the student’s ability to turn work in on time." This is the reason I really struggle: I agree that the skill is more important, but I also think that part of "earning" a higher grade (and a weighted grade in Honors and Dual Enrollment classes) is not just showing skills–some of those kids can perform the skills easily–but also proving it on time.

    Great question!

  7. I only accept late work from an absence if the student gets the work from my web page. I don't have a place for extra worksheets and stuff — go to my web page on your time. Also, I build in extension time for major assignments, so anything after those dates I don't grade. I'll take the work from the student, but I won't grade it.

  8. The dilemmas around late work only arise when you must "average" everything into one type of grade. The problem is that you're mixing apples and oranges — it's the same problem you face when you try to give an overall grade for an essay that reflects both understanding of a book and composition.

    I pushed for our (new) school to adopt a grading system that would allow some measure of separation. We have a set of "strands" that we use for grading — it's not as rigorous as a fully standards based gradebook would be, but it allows teachers to clearly separate out tardiness (which falls under what we call "work habits") from skill (which in English fall under what we call "composition", "analysis" and "oral presentation").

  9. Accepting late work is a tricky subject to navigate in my opinion. A few thoughts that come to mind…

    First, if we penalize students for "late work," shouldn't we also be rewarding them proportionately for turning it in on time? (i.e. -20% for late should equate to automatic +20% for on-time)

    Second, if "learning" is what we're trying to promote and a student genuinely didn't have time, etc., then aren't we penalizing him/her for wanting to learn? A bit altruistic and perhaps rare, but the possibility still exists. By penalizing late work, we are building an anti-learning culture in this context.

    Third, I agree whole-heartedly with those who have suggested that "it depends on the assignment." If the assignment is more "practice oriented," then why should a late penalty take place? Should a student be penalize for "practicing" later than his/her peers? This would be similar to never giving your goalie a chance, just because he/she didn't do well in the first game of the season. With some "later" practice, there's no reason a person can't "play" (learn) just as well.

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