Working with Students

Late Work

What is your policy on late work?  

I've talked with some instructors who do not allow it.  The reason they often give is that the student needs to learn a lesson by getting a zero.  

However, in my opinion the primary thing my students should learn is the content of my course.  Learning a life lesson about being on time is important but secondary to the material they study.  If I don't allow late work then that student will never complete the assignment and never learn the material in it.  

In the past I have deducted 10% per day late with a maximum of 50%.  This way they still have some incentive to complete the work but still have a penalty for being late.

I started a new course this semester that has a lot of automatically graded quizzes.  This prevents me from easily implementing my 10% deduction because if I grant special access to a quiz it will be graded automatically without penalty.  If anyone knows a way around this I'd love to hear about it.  

What do you think?

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  • In the class I am teaching there is a quiz due on Monday morning.  Since the week's assignments do not open until Saturday that does not leave a lot of time to prepare.  However, the student's do have the syllabus available to them from the beginning of the semester so they should know what they are going to be quizzed on.  I wish I could be a little more lenient on the quizzes due Monday, but the system locks everyone out.  I just encourage them to get their work done.  

  • I know this was posted a while ago, but just browsing older posts I thought I'd pipe in.

    Here are my thoughts. I could be a difficult person and not allow late work but this is a church school. We are helping to give an education to people who are in the process of progressing in life. Heavenly Father gives us a late policy...and over and over again. His business is to help us progress spiritually. Our business is to help students progress in their lives and better their circumstances. So, in the spirit of helping students progress, I give a late policy. I don't encourage working on Sunday so Monday is -15%, Tuesday is -30%, and not accepted after Tuesday. I leave all submissions open indefinitely so I don't have to reopen anything but if anything is turned in after Tuesday, they don't get points. It's simple and effective. 

  • I would rather they complete it, but I get so many medical excuses and I see those as proper excuses in the policy, BUT I have no way to verify.  To make it easier (I do not announce this part) I give 1 free pass to each student, 20% next late, 50% off all additional...along with a happy note of "It is okay, C's get degrees, don't let this deter you!"

  • The first few semesters I taught, I experimented with different late work policies, awarding partial credit for late work.  What I found was that I was spending a great deal of time reopening assignments for students, searching for and grading late work and having to think about how late it was and how many points I needed to take.  I also became concerned that I was fostering bad habits in my students.  Those students who were late with assignments just continued to struggle, and I could see that these habits were actually very damaging to them.  They were always stressed, always anxious. 
    I decided that perhaps I wasn't doing them any favors.  Working on Lesson 4 when you are supposed to be in Lesson 5 just makes you behind on Lesson 5.  And perhaps learning to meet deadlines needs to be part of a student's education, because those who are going to experience the most success outside of school are probably those who aren't in the habit of putting things off.  
    So one semester, I decided to raise the bar and try a "no late work" policy.  It's hard, I'm not going to lie.  I feel like a jerk.  But I have been amazed and impressed at the results, and have stuck with the policy ever since.  Semester after semester, I have seen my students rise to meet my expectations.  I have seen them learn to manage their time.  I have seen how much better they do when they are not always stressed about keeping up. 
    • Thank you for your perspective Melanie.  You've come the closest to convincing me to not allow late work.  I'm not there yet and may never be, but this gives me something to think about. 

      • Me, too.  It is food for thought.  

  • This discussion makes me wonder why the University doesn't have a uniform blanket late policy? Some courses include late policies in the syllabus, like my B101 Intro to Business course, which doesn't accept late work except in emergency situations, while others don't state it at all. Don't get me wrong, I like that we have some leeway as instructors to decide this in our courses, I'm just wondering if the lack of a dictated policy holds some sort of message in itself. Any thoughts?

    • I think that one of the messages this gives is the respect and trust the university has for its instructors.

      • I do agree with this. However, it does make it difficult for me at times to stick with my late policy when other students that my students are in contact with have a different late policy in their course. I am a "softie" and it makes me sad when I have to be the one that seems "mean/bad" because I actually have a late policy while another instructor might not. I guess it's just part of our teaching online and we have to figure it out, but there have been many times when I thought a blanket late work policy would be very nice!

        • I think part of the reason we don't have a blanket late policy is because there are so many different people involved in creating online classes. Because each course is individually created by a certain designer and a course lead from the campus department, you will always have differing ideas on the best late policy. For some campus departments it's a very serious issue, for others it's not. We want to allow designers and departments to create the class with the vision they have for their program, but I still think it's nice when instructors do have that individual autonomy. 

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