Thursday, October 18, 2007

Why? Just Why Does This Happen?

You're returning papers to students, and you realize one is missing. You never graded it. You never saw it. The student claims that he turned it in along with everyone else. It's nowhere in your stack. Is it lost in another stack of papers? Is it at home? Did the student never turn it in? Who the heck knows. But what a hassle. What a total hassle.

9 comments:

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

I hate this situation too...

I tend to tell them that a) I'll take the reserve copy I told them to keep just in case.. and I'll take it right now, not later -- now as I warned them about this kind of problem in advance.... If the student has a good record, I'll usually take it as if it were on time... if they are one of the many slackers, then I'll tell them that if I find the original in my office, I'll give them back the late penalty I'm assessing...

If I find it at all (and I've only found it a handful of times...) Usually what I find is that they turned it in at some non-standard time and it went with another class' papers... so, when I hand those out in another section, theirs is left with a note saying "found under door day it was due" -- this is evidence to me that a) they lied when they said it was turned in with all the others and b) I'm not nuts.

phd me said...

Hassle, indeed! I always go with the student not turning it in. I don't lose papers; I don't lose things, period. So, when I don't have a paper, it means I didn't get it in the first place.

I'm always nice about it if they ask - "I'm sorry, I didn't return your paper because I didn't receive one last week" - and if they proclaim innocence, I give them an hour (depending on the circumstance) to get home and email me a copy. As it happens, I have an amazing memory for student work (it's weird) so if I recognize it, we have a little chat next class. If I don't, I accept it as late work. So far, so good.

Lesboprof said...

It is in the land of missing socks and missing papers...

helenesch said...

When I first began teaching, I remember thinking that this would certainly happen at some point--I would just "lose" a paper. Well, I've never lost a single paper, nor has any TA or grader of mine...

Surprisingly, though, I don't think a student has ever claimed to have turned in a paper I didn't receive. Actually, the only time this happened was when the student claimed to have e-mailed it to me (which was easily tracked--I had the student forward me the original e-mail, which of course included a typo in my address!).

Good luck with this... Yes, a total hassle.

Belle said...

Well, I lose track of all kinds of stuff. So do students. But I have a policy of no late papers, period. So if they don't keep a copy, they're out of luck.

Period. But then, I'm a snarky bitch.

The_Myth said...

In a large lecture class, one of my professors would make a big to-do about handing in paper.

We TAs would help her, by working in groups, accept papers, stamp them to verify they were handed in on time, and then write down the students name on a check-off list to make sure the paper was handed in on-time.

Any late papers went straight to the prof, who graded them herself after assessing the proper penalty atop the paper.

I find this procedure is necessary even in small classes where I find I have several student slackers.

Arbitrista said...

Unlike some others, I'm always losing stuff. So when that happened to me, I usually took the blame. Unless I was just SURE that they hadn't turned it in.

The History Enthusiast said...

I've never lost stuff either, but since I've had students claim innocence a number of times, here is my new policy (as of last year): You submit your paper via Blackboard AND in person in class. That way there is a time stamp on each one that says (down to the second) when it was submitted. And I also have a hard copy too. I explain to my students how to use Blackboard, so there should be no problem with not understanding how to submit things to the dropbox. This has not solved the problem, but it has certainly helped. It might be something to try!

adjunct whore said...

if after a search you don't have it, i would say the student didn't turn it in. i think this is a commonly used tactic, in fact.