Saturday, December 10, 2016


Does applying hard deadlines really make students learn to meet deadlines? 10 points off for each day late? Or does it just give an excuse to the procrastinator (or the kid who knows he's not that good at the task) that he is no longer responsible for the low grade?

Is our Calvinistic work ethic really a good thing here? Has anyone really considered its effect on the students and the climate of the school?

For all of those who so desperately want deadlines, let me propose one ... set yourself a deadline and then pay $10 per student per day late returning those essays.

end broadside ...

Here's what I feel works better:

Set a deadline if you have to, one that makes sense. Set it for Friday if you REALLY plan to grade over the weekend. If you're going to procrastinate, don't get on their case for it. Taking points off for lateness doesn't make your assessment of the work any more accurate. Grade the work and the lateness separately.

You can certainly set a deadline but be reasonable about it. Allow a kid to hand it to you as you walk out the door - the fumbling and muttering will make him feel bad enough - and you'll probably give him time to proofread and print it.  Maybe he's just yanking your chain, but perhaps he's not.

"Here's how well you did" is far more powerful when you are discussing the work itself. 

"Okay, give it to me tomorrow morning so I can look at it first period and get it back to you" may occasionally be taken as a sign of weakness and an excuse to persist in tardiness ... but far more often, it is a sign that you want good work rather than hasty work.

And it's a policy that fits much better with Proficiency-Based Grading.

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