accept latework

I Accept Late Work for Full Credit

I saw this blog post posted on Twitter titled “I accept late work for full credit.” I really appreciated many of the points Dr. O’Malley presented.

“If it is worth doing, its worth doing late”

What is our purpose for teaching? It is so the students will learn. That is it. Any policies, no matter how justified, that turn kids off from learning are the opposite of our jobs. There is no average time to learn something. If we assigned something, let’s assume it’s not busy work, then it’s worth doing.

When we deduct a random number of points for late work (the range of deductions for different teachers run from 0 to 100%) what are we saying? We do not measure learning, we measure compliance. How many points is the right number of points to teach a kid a lesson? The “in the real world” argument does not hold much water. The real world does not severely punish late work every single time. In the real world there is a lot of mercy and there are redos. I had to take my drivers test more than once. I’ve been late to school and meetings. No penalty. Almost NONE of our class represents the real world. We pick and choose elements to enforce with a justification of “the real world” but don’t make an effort to have our entire classes be the real world so why are we using this argument?

My favorite is that every single manager I know uses spreadsheets, this is real world. So why are we not having students create spreadsheets in our classes? (To those of you who are, thank you! I love spreadsheets!) The real world doesn’t have spelling tests. I don’t have to raise my hand to use the bathroom. In the real world someone doesn’t show me step by step how to do every single thing. In the real world I can make decisions for myself, including not to do things.

I used to not accept late work or take off points. Why did I do this? Not for any other reason than what was done to me. I had teachers who took off points so it seemed like the thing to do. Let’s really critically analyze what makes LEARNING happen. Learning. There is no standard to teach responsibility so why are we putting this higher than a student learning? Our job is students learning “algebra” or whatever subject you teach.

Rick Wormeli

Rick Wormeli is an expert on grading practices. I encourage you to check out his books, YouTube videos, articles and follow him on Twitter. “Schools were not meant to meet the needs of kids who don’t get it first or right away.”

“We are in the world to look out for each other, not to play gotcha.”




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