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Community Forums - K-12 Educators - Late vs. Incomplete Student Work

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As the school year is wrapping up, I'm thinking about changes to make next year. One of the biggest changes I saw in my freshman this year is incomplete work. My policy has been they can turn in one assignment (each quarter) late for full credit. Anything late after that is worth 60% (70% is our lowest D). So this year, kids are turning things in VERY incomplete.. I'm assuming because they think it's better than turning it in late. 

   So I was thinking of not accepting any incomplete work next year. It has to be finished and would be counted late. At least this way I know they're getting the information out of the assignment. Does anyone else ues this system? How does it work out for you? 

This thread was posted on May 23, 2014 at 8:56 AM ET by Aubrey Mikos.
  |   11 Replies   |   Last on 4/14/2017 at 8:17 PM ET
Re: Late vs. Incomplete Student Work

So since this post was from 2 years ago, I thought I should follow up! My new policy (since 2014) is that ALL work will be accepted for full credit until the day of the test (though realistically that policy sometimes gets extended for special ed and students that can't pass/graduate without the points). The work has to be completely finished to be graded. I have a separate grade each quarter for "on-time" points. Every time they turn something in late or without a name, they lose one of their on-time points. 

I really really love this system. It allows me, students, parents, & admins to be able to look at the gradebook and know if a student's problem is they aren't undertanding the material (a low assignment score) or just turned it in late (low "on-time" points). When those two things were combined, I couldn't look back at grades and see what the problem was. The kids also seem to be doing better on this system. I am actually getting higher quality work, and haven't seen an increase in late work (though it hasn't dropped either). 


This was posted on May 13, 2016 at 9:42 AM ET by Aubrey Mikos.
Re: Re: Late vs. Incomplete Student Work

I am very interested in this topic. Our admisitration has asked us not to take any points off for late work as this is a behavior, not achievement. I disagree as there needs to be some consequence for late work - after all I can't turn in my work days late and excpect not to get fired. AND it makes me crazy having to accept work days and even weeks old - it is a nightmare to keep up with.  I like the idea of "on time" points - can you please share more about that?

This was posted on April 14, 2017 at 8:17 PM ET by kathy biernat.
Re: Late vs. Incomplete Student Work

I am glad to hear your new system is working. Bravo. Thanks for giving us an update.

This was posted on May 13, 2016 at 1:42 PM ET by Patricia A. Halpin.
Re: Late vs. Incomplete Student Work

Hi Aubrey,

I have tried a couple of stratigies for this problem, and I have found that (although it's an inconvience for me) letting students turn in anything, anytime, but there will be a 10% deduction per week or class that it is late. I grade it as I would if it were on time, then deduct the percentage. I have found that some students consistently turn in assignments 1-2 weeks late, but even though they are complete and correct, they can't ever earn an A, so it ends up impacting them quite a bit. Have you tried something like this?  In many of my classes, I do short in class assignments, and they have to check their answers with a neighbor and turn them in right then. If they are not present, they can still do the assignement, but with the same 10% deduction per week or class session, depending on the schedule.


This was posted on June 16, 2014 at 5:16 PM ET by Roseann Berg.
Re: Late vs. Incomplete Student Work

HI , this is frustrating for you I am sure. I state at the beginning of the semester that I am firm about all deadlines. My policy is 10% off per day late. If they skip class to work on the assignment and hand it in after class they get 5% deducted. For online quizzes they get a zero as they have 7 days x 24 h to do the work. I also tell them it is not fair to their classmates that they should get the same credit for late work. This strategy works well. Let us what your strategy is next year and if it works well.

This was posted on June 17, 2014 at 9:24 AM ET by Patricia A. Halpin.
Re: Late vs. Incomplete Student Work

I fought this for a long time before I came to the conclusion that it was the content I wanted them to know, not just finishing something for the sake of turning it in.  I would hear about kids madly copying on the bus in the morning just so they could turn in something "complete".  I now have a new approach:  I accept no late work at all, period.  But, I give students multiple days to turn something in.  Much of what they do is turned in on a website (Edmodo or turnitin.com) and there is a window of time to turn things in. My students know they have flexible turn in time (that takes into account students who do after school activities and also the fact that I only see them every other day).  They also know they can stay in my room at lunch to finish or submit something.  I think I saved everyone's sanity when I flat out said NO LATE WORK ACCEPTED - NO EXCUSES.  

This was posted on June 23, 2014 at 7:48 PM ET by Anne Artz.
Re: Re: Late vs. Incomplete Student Work

I do something similar, except rather than not accepting any late work, my students have up until the day of the test to turn work in for that unit.  After the day of the test, the students work is no longer accpeted for credit.  One other thing I have done too is that in order to complete a retake on a test the are only eligible to do so if they had completed all of their work prior to the day the first test was given.  It has helped students take the work much more seriously, because they know they only way that will have the option of retaking a test they may have done poorly on is to show me they did everything they could the first time to pass and they just needed a little extra help to do better.

This was posted on May 9, 2016 at 1:07 PM ET by Catina Stecz.
Re: Re: Re: Late vs. Incomplete Student Work

I really like this idea of tieing work completion to retakes. If you don't accept work after the test though, can they not do a retake if they don't have all their work done? This might be a struggle for the kids the first few times. Do you find that your students get their work done before the test in case they need to retake it? Obviously you would hope that if they had done all the work before the test they wouldn't need to retest (but that isn't always true). 

This was posted on May 13, 2016 at 9:22 AM ET by Aubrey Mikos.
Re: Re: Late vs. Incomplete Student Work

I'm torn on my policy for that exact reason- I'm more concerned about them getting the information (fully) instead of them following an absolute deadline, which is why I would rather take an assignment late and completed that incomplete but on time. But I also realize that turning an assignment in on time is a valuable skill they have to learn as well!


This was posted on June 26, 2014 at 2:31 PM ET by Aubrey Mikos.
Re: Late vs. Incomplete Student Work

As others have said, what works best for me is multiple days to turn in homework. I give 2 days (assigned Monday then due Wednesday). I then institute the schools late work policy. This allows them time to attempt, get feedback / help.

This was posted on September 7, 2014 at 7:21 PM ET by Matthew Carter.
Re: Late vs. Incomplete Student Work

I struggle wtih this too... especially for students who are close to the failing cutoff.  I have found it hard to say no late work if it makes it so that they can't possibly pass (I just take points off if it is late). 

Luckily, though, at my school, we grade students under 4 strands - each of the 4 strands are printed on the report card along with an overall grade.  One of these strands is work habits - if they pass something in late, they get work habits taken off but can be fully assessed in other strands.  This way, parents can see the degree to which they actually understand the material as well as how timely they are in completing assignments. 

This was posted on October 10, 2014 at 9:12 PM ET by Ashley Young.