Saturday, October 10, 2009

Extra Time To Complete Assignments

Of all the accommodations we are told to make for certain students because of some specific or general learning disability, "extra time to complete assignments" is the dumbest one of all. I can understand "extra time to take a test" or "test in a solitary environment" or "break long-term assignments up into smaller bits" or even (sometimes) "preferential seating" or "periodically accept late work", but "extra time to complete assignments" doesn't even make logical sense. And here's why.

When I give an assignment, it's due the next day. So, if I have to allow "extra time to complete assignments", a student might have, say, two days to do an assignment. This causes severe problems for the student if they really take this extra time, because during the 2nd month of school they would still be working on assignments from the 1st month of school--and probably not doing well on tests and quizzes in the 2nd month, either, because they haven't done any of the assignments for the 2nd month's material. Fast forward to the end of the semester, and the student has only done the work for half the semester--yet the final exam date is firm, and the date the grades are due to the registrar is firm.

Someone didn't think this through. It doesn't help the student at all.

No, I wasn't asked to do this for a student--not any time recently, anyway. We were discussing accommodations and modifications in our department meeting yesterday, and the talk stirred a memory of this worthless accommodation from the dark recesses of my memory.


Elaine said...

... see, I always interpreted this as 'extra time to complete in-class assignments.' In other words, assignments that would normally be started and completed within a class period, they would be allowed to take home to complete, or some such.

For example, I give my students 5 minutes at the beginning of class to do their bell work. A student with the requirement for extra time would be allowed more than that 5 minutes to work through all the problems.

Dr. Davis said...

I received one of those letters this week. I am frustrated.

I have no issue with letting a student having a longer time for a test. I do think it's ridiculous when the student asks for even longer on a test and doesn't bring the materials he needs to take the test (such as his reading glasses), but I don't mind the time and a half or twice as long.

But what is the point of having two days extra to do homework? Every day they'd be doing the homework from two days ago. Plus, the rules require that the person have all the assignments in before finals.

So every class they turn in an assignment from the class before, except for the last day before finals when both the one due that day and the one due the day before is turned in.

It is ridiculous.

Mrs. C said...

My son G is in special ed and usually they will just shorten the work. It isn't an issue of him taking up the class's time because the other children in the class are in the same boat, needing extra time to get work done. I have a feeling that most kids who truly, truly need extra time and many accomodations wouldn't be in your class.

It might seem like a useless accomodation, but I know that without it, G would just give up and be failed an entire grade instead of falling behind a little bit year by year. He goes to summer school as well and past a certain point you just can't work harder or faster.

It just is what it is. :]

Ellen K said...

So how many different tests do you have to generate? I have to have my basic test,two versions to prevent cheating. I have to have my reduced number of questions test in multiple choice format for the kids that are reading impaired. I have a limited language test for my ESL/ELL students. Then there are the makeup tests for the kids who are absent on test day AND the retest for students who fail. That's just in art. I cannot even begin to imagine what core class teachers have to go through to make things "fair." As hardhearted as it sounds, a test is a test is a test. You either know the material or you don't. We have supported the idea that everybody wins far too long and it is leading us to rampant mediocrity. This is why we have remedial classes at major universities and a general population that can be so easily manipulated into voting for people based on style over substance. This is Idiocracy.