I am sure that when I was at school I actually cared about my school work. I never once asked for an extension on an assignment. I always handed in my work when it was required, regardless of what that work was. I didn't even do that at uni the first time round, and I only asked for an extension twice last year when I was doing my grad dip because I was doing 6 subjects (which in hindsight was insane!).
I am wondernig why my grade 10 students are so damn slack when it comes to handing in their work.
The semester grade for my grade 10's is based on 4 pieces of assessment - a test, an exam (no different to a test except it is held during exam week under strict exam conditions), an assignment, and classwork - each worth 25%.
The test results weren't too bad. The averages for both my classes were 66% and 69%. I was relatively happy with those but most of the girls could do a lot better. I am hoping they will do better in the exam in about 8 weeks time.
The assignment, which was due last Thursday, was seriously the easiest assignment I could have given them. I gave them 3 classes in which to work on it when I was only required to give them 2. I have assisted them whenever they have asked me for help - even gave them my email address so they could ask me questions outside of class time. (Not my personal email address - not that stupid!)
Yet when it came to handing it in, only about 60% of the students across my two classes handed in their assignments. I actually made the ones who weren't handing it in come up to the front of the class and tell me what their excuse was. I put these excuses into a spreadsheet.
What is so damn frustrating is that they waited until the day it was due to ask me for an extension. Some gave me hollow promises to have it emailed to me by midnight that same night (only 3 did this), but the frustration mainly came from those wanting an extension at last minute.
Tomorrow is a week since it was originally due, and despite the fact that is the holidays, the girls who haven't handed in their assignments loose 5% each day up to a maximum of 35% of their total mark for the assignment. 35% is a HUGE chunk of what should be an easy mark! I am starting to wonder how many of them are going to fail the assignment as a result of this 35%...
Now I come to their classwork. I don't give homework UNLESS something is not completed in class. I give the girls about a weeks notice of when I am going to collect their books and tell them exactly what I am wanting to be completed. Doesn't sound hard right? Well, apparently it is.
A lot of them didn't hand in their books before the holidays. A large majority of those who did hand in their books haven't finished everything. I don't ask for much - just that they have an attempt at every question so I can see that they are having a go. So why is it so hard to get them to do the work?? Their classwork should be the easiest 25% they could get!!
I have been doing some thinking and I believe it just comes down to them being 15 years old. They are at that age where they don't give a crap about school. Yet next year they go into grade 11 and if they don't bring their game up to scratch they are going to fall so hard and fast on their faces they won't have time to even put their hands out to try and break the fall.
So I have made a decision. I am going to shock them a little. I am going to tell them to pretend that it is the end of the semester and that their reports with their final grades have just been mailed out. I will then speak to them one at a time and tell them what their final grade is, based on the work they have done so far this semester. I hope this shocks some of them into doing better work. A lot of them are going to have failing grades!
But I guess I am also looking for some advice. If anyone out there knows how to motivate teenage girls into doing the best they can at school, please let me know. Feel free to offer constructive critism too.