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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  • I don't have the magic answer, but one thing I do is ask students to email me to "open" the quiz for them.  I then remind them of the latework policy (i.e. that I will deduct points--I usually follow the same idea you do, 1 grade level for each day late:  max of 50% reduction).  In the same email, I then ask them assume responsibility and email me back to let me know they have completed it:  I tell them up front that the course will automatically give full points b/c it is auto graded, but that I will need to go in and reduce that according to the late work policy (which I post week 1 as part of my announcements).  I have never had complaints for the deduction because everything is transparent from the start. And if they don't email me, I feel that is on their shoulders as far as honesty goes.  

    Again--not the silver bullet.  But it works for me fairly simply.  And it isn't as time consuming as you might think.  

  • There have been some great insights into this already--but I wanted to comment on the late quizzes question Clint posed. I found only one way I can go about late quizzes with my limited knowledge. The quizzes in my course have an "end date", which closes the quiz when it is due. I will then go in the next day, open up the quiz again, and give those students a "0" who didn't complete it with the feedback saying, "I have opened the quiz back up for you to complete. Remember that there is a 10% penalty for each day it is late, so be sure to get this in as soon as possible. Looking forward to seeing your work!" Or something along those lines. Then, when the quizzes are turned in, I can easily see which quizzes were turned in late because they are the only ones I have the "feedback sunburst" next to their grade in the "Grade All" section of that quiz. That is the only way I have been able to figure out how to differentiate between those who turn it in late from those who do not. If anyone else has an easier way, I would love to know!

    • Thank you for this idea.

      I extended a discussion board assignment week 1 because of classes starting on Thursday and work being due Saturday. Even though it showed a new due date on  my side, the students could not get in to it for some odd reason.  Has this happened to you before?

  • In working my online master's degree in teaching and learning, CSU-global had a policy of allowing one week late without penalty anytime, any course.  I only took advantage of the option twice in four years of work.  As a student I truly appreciated acknowledgment that other priorities occasionally drop school to second place.

    I know for our students, especially our youngest adults, learning the importance of deadlines is difficult. They seem to need a stronger line.   For our older students, life realities can cause priority shifts once or twice a semester.  They seem to need a softer line.  I have concern also for the shy or ESL student who may need exceptions but never ask. They might need an outreach invitation.

    When we look big picture, what are the big ideas we want students to take away?  I hope they leave my class with greater competence, confidence, and testimony.  I hope they know their teacher cared and worked for their success.  I hope they realize choices have consequences.  I hope they feel the joy of meeting high expectations.  I suggest any late work policy be built on these foundations.  I suggest it be built on a fairly strong line where the teacher reaches out with opportunities for explanation, redo and redemption.  2 cents.

    • I appreciated reading your perspective, Bonnie and I agree. 

  • Great questions Clint.  I have personally found with my GS 120L students that I give them two late days first day they loose 10% and second day 20% and the third day is 0%.  I work with students who have special circumstances.   However, at the end of the quarter I do not accept any late work, the last day of the semester is the last day to turn in any homework.  I try really hard to grade all the assignments within 3 days.

    I love discussions like this to learn from other instructors what Late Work Policies work best for them.

  • I know this isn't exactly what is being discussed in this thread, but one thing we need to be clear about is that Instructors should NOT be allowing students to submit late assignments beyond the end of semester grade submission deadline.  This is against university policy and can also jeopardize an instructor's future contracts.  

    In extenuating circumstances, AND if students meet the requirements, an instructor may chose to allow a student to get Incomplete "I" grade, but grades must still be submitted by the submission deadline.  Work should generally be completed within the next semester, the sooner the better.

    Just to be clear.  NO instructor should hold up submitting grades for their class or an individual student beyond the final grade submission deadline at the end of the semester.

  • I agree it is more important for the students to learn the weekly concepts.
    Here is a copy of my Art 107 Late assignment policies. 

    Late Work Policy-  

    • You have a 24 hour grace period on all assignments, except for the discussion boards, COLOR comp SKETCH, and the final project
    • You have one week from original due date to complete late work.  Late work automatically loses 25% of its  grade. 
      • After you submit your late work then e-mail Sister Bingham to let her know what assignment(s) you submitted.  Otherwise, it will not be graded

    Forgiveness Policy- 
    If work is turned in on time and you’re unhappy with your grade then you may redo it and still earn up to the full amount of points.  Remember, turn it in no later than 7 days after the original due date, and then email me so I know what you have submitted. There is no forgiveness for the Discussion Board Exercises or Final Project. 



    Without hard work, nothing grows but weeds. 
    Gordon B. Hinckley

  • 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. 

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