Tuesday, December 02, 2008

A query

Why is it that stray assignments--those turned in late, done as make-ups, or somehow separated from the rest of their batch--take three times as long to grade?

14 comments:

Nels said...

That's one reason why I tell students I won't comment on late assignments. They get a grade and have to come see me to have it explained.

~profgrrrrl~ said...

Ugh, that is *so* true.

life_of_a_fool said...

I'm not sure I have that problem, but I have realized that late assignments get lost into the ether. That is the limit of what I can accurately keep track of.

Nels has a great strategy though. I may try that one.

Anonymous said...

I swear it seems I spend half my life grading late stuff. And then I can't remember what the penalty is -- 1 letter grade per day? Half credit? When exactly was it turned in? Sometimes I think I should stop accepting ANY late work, for ANY reason but that seems so harsh ... any thoughts??

Dr. Smart Cookie said...

I don't know why, but this is SO TRUE. I hate it. I try to be tough and say "no late assignments" and "no make-up exams," but in the end, I allow both. Grr.

Doctor Cleveland said...

Because I've already done a whole stack of these, and the psychological reward for finishing was being done with them?

Because I looked at thirty papers trying to judge them against the same standard, which made me really focus on what I was looking for in the particular assignment, and when I get a stray I don't have the criteria as firmly in mind anymore? (It's like a dog show in a way ... hard to evaluate one Pomeranian by the same standards a month later.)

Because it's against the laws of the universe, or at least should be?

dhawhee said...

I do think Doctor Cleveland nails it here: it's because you're no longer in the groove, and it seems like extra (extra, extra) work.

Margo said...

They take longer to grade because they fill you with HATE, and for me, being filled with hate means I need to blow off a few hours playing around on-line, or watching Chelsea Lately.

Seriously, though, they are inconvenience and an intrusion and Nels nails it.

Flavia said...

Yes! It's all of these things. But hate and the out-of-groove-ness of it all are probably the chief explanations for me.

Of course, some of that hate is self-directed, because often enough it's my own fault that I have these stragglers. True, sometimes I do have students with deathbed illnesses whom I've given extensions to (or ones willing to accept my lateness penalties). . . but equally often it's that, when in the midst of grading a stack of 25 papers, I realize that 4 students have told me they won't be in class on the day I intend to return them (because it is, let's say, the day before Thanksgiving Break), so I relieve myself of the responsibility of getting those essays graded with the others.

I always assume that I'll be able to crank them out in an hour or an hour and a half some morning before I've even gotten out of bed. Instead, they wind up taking an entire afternoon when I ought to have been working on the NEXT set of essays.

Renaissance Girl said...

Stupid them, those late-turning-in students, because they don't realize that they've incurred my ire, whether I'm conscious of it or not, and I'm more likely to be hypersensitive to each late paper's weaknesses, and more unforgiving. (Especially since, as I justify it to myself, they've had extra time to get it perfected...)

Clio Bluestocking said...

Thank goodness! It's not just me!

Definitely annoyance and out-of-the-groove. They think that it's just them, and that grading THEIR late paper is all we have to do. They don't realize that there are 15 others just like them, all of them annoy me, and now I have to set aside time from things that I have already scheduled to do all because packs of dogs roamed the streets eating homework on the night before the due date.

Anonymous said...

I might try Nels's solution of no comments on late work. I've been toying with no late penalties at all. I'm tired of hearing the excuses. We are in the middle of a big strike and depending on the resolution I might go there to see how no penalties works. We'll see how many people can't finish by the end of the year

Dr. Mon said...

Soooo True!!

Delaney Kirk said...

I don't take late papers as a rule as want the students to learn time management and prioritizing skills as well as writing or research skills. I give a short paper due the second day of class and usually 20% (or more) do not do this and ask to turn in late. I don't allow this (I refer them to the syllabus that tells them no) but tell them that the paper is only worth 5 points so while they have not lost much yet, it is a wakeup call. It seems to help with number of requests for late papers.