While there are different views on the use of homework, late homework may be an inevitable part of your teaching experience. If you choose to use homework, you also have to decide how you will address tardy assignments. Here, we offer ways to handle late homework.Aug 17, 2022
While there are different views on the use of homework, late homework may be an inevitable part of your teaching experience. If you choose to use homework, you also have to decide how you will address tardy assignments.
Here we offer five ways the handle late homework that can help you manage the task efficiently, while still being fair to students who complete their work on time.
1. Create Consequences for Late Work
Penalizing students for turning homework in late is a common practice among teachers. If your student misses a deadline, there’s a clear, expected consequence.
Penalties, however, can also encourage students to complete the late assignment to receive partial credit. This ensures fairness — late work can’t achieve the same score as work that was submitted on time — while also giving students who turn homework in late an opportunity to learn the materials and succeed in the class, which is the ultimate goal.
2. Accept Late Work — for Legitimate Reasons
No, “my dog ate my homework” is not an acceptable reason for missing a homework deadline. But there are some situations that may warrant tardiness, such as a medical or family emergency.
Help your students understand your expectations for accepting late work without a penalty, as well as what you’ll need to verify those conflicts (such as a signed letter from a parent, for example). This is also a great way to preempt students’ attempts at making excuses, which could reduce the number of excuses you’ll field throughout the year.
3. Put Extensions on the Table
Not every student who turns work in late is unmotivated or irresponsible. Some students might be struggling to keep up with the workload, or they could be dealing with situations at home that make managing classroom deadlines difficult.
By encouraging students to ask for extensions, you can empower them to proactively manage their workload. Note that some students might try to take advantage of extensions to avoid late penalties. Creating boundaries, like requiring students to ask for an extension in advance of the deadline, can help.
4. Grant a ‘Next-Day Pass’
A next-day pass is a pass that grants your students the opportunity to submit a homework assignment the day after it’s due without penalty. Next-day passes afford students some flexibility that they can tap into when they need it, while also helping you eliminate the need to field excuses for late work and requests for extensions.
5. Take ‘Late’ Out of the Equation
Some teachers have adopted policies that don’t penalize students for turning work in late — no matter how late the assignment is or how many assignments are late. Instead of penalizing students for tardiness, this method grades students separately based on their ability to turn their assignments in on time. By creating a distinction between the work and deadlines, you may be able to better understand whether students who are struggling are not grasping the concepts or are dealing with other obstacles.