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The Assignment Amnesty!

09 Sep

amnesty2Being a library recidivist myself, I really appreciate the annual library amnesty! You know how it works, bring back your overdue books this week and no questions will be asked! One thing a large number of students struggle with is the pressure of submitting work late. The modern schooling environment places a huge demand on students, and many end up falling foul of late submission penalties. In my IT classes all submissions are made on Moodle, and I find that there is always a percentage who do not hand in work.

As a teacher I feel I need to incentivize proper submission, so anyone who hands in work before the due date can re-submit work electronically after feedback and will get an improved mark. Those who submit after the due date, cannot re-submit and will receive a penalty, but if they submit before the cut-off date they will still be assessed. After the cut-off date (usually a two week grace period) the assignment is closed and no further submissions are accepted.

All of this is handily automated on Moodle. If a student provides a valid excuse Moodle allows me to grant an extension, and they will be given a new, personalised deadline. This system works well, but there is always a group of students who somehow manage to fall behind – way behind in their work. At this stage, their problem becomes my problem because I have to start emailing their parents and making noises about failing grades because of non-submission. This was always a difficult conversation because parents invariably ask for their child to be allowed a “second chance” and if you do it for one you have to do it for everyone. What I therefore do now is grant an assignment amnesty once a term, and carbon copy parents into this notice. This makes the parent aware of the fact that their child has fallen behind in their work, and makes them aware of the new deadline.

The response from parents is overwhelmingly positive because they see it as a life-line being offered. Sadly the kind of student who falls so far behind invariably does not meet the new deadline either, but at least I have done my duty in informing the parents, and this makes the conversation at parent evening more productive as well.

 

 

 

 

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Posted by on September 9, 2014 in Assessment, Classroom Management, Moodle

 

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