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Patches
Patches asks:
Q:

Is it fair to penalize students 10% for late papers?

My daughter is a good student with good grades and she has been going to this school for six years and this is the first time we are having academic problems and I believe this started when the school  decieded to take 10% of each late paper. This being accumalative for each quarter.  Then starts over each new quarter.  This is being done from 1st to 8th grade.  My daugher and several other students feel it doesn't matter how hard they try if they forget a paper they are doomed. I feel this is undo stress on 5th graders.  I feel this is a punishment to the childs grade.  I realized they need to start being responsible but to punish the grade? I need to know if this is a logical thinking by all teachers that taking 10 percent  off a school paper is psychologically good for a child.  This is accumalative to include all subjects.  The precentages climbs for additional papers thorughout the quarter.  Lets face it all students will forget papers.  Why not keep them in for recess or anything beside punishment of a school grade.  I will value your opinion on this matter.  

Than you,

Patches
In Topics: Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Feb 17, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

As a parent it is diffucult to not have control over consequences used in the classroom.  There are several sides of this situation that need to be considered.  From the teacher's standpoint, has the policy decreased the number of late assignments?  Was the new rule communicated with parents & students?

A 10% reduction in a child's grade may actually be a minimal consequence in comparison to other options that a teacher might take.  As children reach Jr. High & High School, teachers may only give 50% credit or no credit at all.  The 10% may be a way to ease kids into expectations for later grade levels.

Most teachers do not like to take away recess from kids because for so many kids it is important for them to get physical activity during the day to help them concentrate on classroom work.  Other options that teachers might use could be keeping kids after school (which is inconvenient for parents), or positive reinforcement only for those who have all homework turned in on time (which exludes kids who may slip up once).

As difficult as it is for a parent to see a child earn a consequence for a mistake they made, it is a very important lesson for them to learn for later in life.  Make sure that you discuss the issue with your daughter and check with her frequently to make sure that she has all her homework completed.  Check with the teacher to ensure that she is up to date with assignments.  Be there to support her if she falters on occasion by helping her learn to accept the consequences that she earned.  Accepting responsibility for her behavior (good or bad) will help her to develop into a stronger and more motivated student and adult!

Hope this helps---your daughter is lucky to have an involved and concerned parent!

Boys Town National Hotline
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Additional Answers (2)

rkaiulani
rkaiulani writes:
Hi Patches,
This sounds like a fairly tough consequence for a 5th grader who turns in their paper late. However, student should learn that although each teacher may have different rules those rules need to be taken seriously. Once your daughter hits high school/college the demands on her will increase, but the consequences may not be so obvious - until she receives a failing grade. I think that as a parent you should help your child become more organized in terms of homework assignments (does she have a planner?) and more methodical about making sure she has everything she needs in the morning (maybe institute a morning homework check to make sure she's got all her folders, etc. in her backpack?).
As for the psychological side of it, I think that you should reassure your child that she is a good student and that everyone makes mistakes. The important thing is to help her fix the homework problem in a constructive way, I think.
Hope this helps!
> 60 days ago

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ruthrajan
ruthrajan writes:
I'm a student so it may be difficult for me to answer this objectively but I think if anything, my answer works against the more probable bias. I think it is fair for students to be penalized for late work. Your daughter is likely a good student and it probably feels like there's a sudden discrepancy between her grades and her ability.

First, you say that 'we' are having academic problems. Do you mean your daughter is stressed or are YOU stressed about her grades? Or both? Either way, NEITHER of you should feel any anxiety about grades at this stage, if anything, I would think a 11 or 12 year old would be more worried about missing the lunch or recess. It sort of sounds like to either you or your daughter that a small grade penalty is the ultimate punishment for a child. The simple truth is, in terms of your professional future, the grades you make from kindergarten to eighth grade have no value (unless you take advanced courses that have highschool credits). No college takes them into account. What DOES matter is the habits and work ethic you learn in these years. If your daughter is academically motivated, if she sees from an early age procrastinating or a lack of organization leads to a bad grade, that will undoubtedly motivate her to change those habits.You may think that for children, they're more likely to do things if offered a reward and be hindered if penalized but for grades, penalties speak louder than rewards. Especially when the rewards are stickers or something. The 10% isn't to 'punish' the child, but to encourage her to stay on track.

I'm a senior in highschool and I really wish i learned good work habits earlier, instead of learning the hard way. It's wonderful that your daughter is involved in an environment that will adequately prepare her for her future.

also, *undue
> 60 days ago

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