Student Accountability: How Do You Do It?!

Alright, folks, let’s roll up our sleeves and put our heads together for a bit, because I need some collective brainstorming. The topic of the day: missing work.

I’ll be engaging in some action research over the next several months about student accountability systems. This is a prevalent issue in our high school, and it’s one that keeps on growing. The English department has particular difficulties with homework completion, especially when it comes to multi-step processes like essays and research projects. While the English department is currently experiencing a significant surge in these kinds of issues, other departments are also reporting higher than typical occurrences of missing work. My high school does not currently have a specific system in place for ensuring homework completion, accompanied by follow-up procedures or consequences for failure to complete. The strategies, methods, and policies vary wildly from teacher to teacher and between departments.

I want to look at this problem from a few different perspectives. First, I want to get a sense of why students are not turning things in–is it because they have jobs, have familial responsibilities that consume their time after school, is because of involvement in sports or extracurricular activities, is it because they are simply being lazy or just don’t want to do the work, or are they uninterested in or dislike the class or the teacher? I want to get a sense of what common threads exist in student reasons/excuses for missing work.

Secondly, I want to see what teachers are doing (or trying to do) to increase student (home)work completion. What strategies/methods/policies are teachers implementing in their classrooms to encourage (home)work completion? And what processes do they move through when a student doesn’t turn work in at the deadline–do they give them one more day, put them in lunch detention, immediately call home? And what kind of success do they see with these practices?

If we can determine specific causes, we can begin to work toward how to address each cause. And if we can analyze the methods used by teachers experiencing success in significantly decreasing missing work, we can identify commonalities, which we can then replicate in other classrooms. My goal is to design a student accountability system that is both proactive in decreasing the number and frequency of missing work, but also has a specific set of procedural steps to follow in the event missing work still occurs. I want to implement this system at the start of the next academic year and compare my findings to the previous school year.

So, friends, tell me: Is homework completion a problem in your classroom? What do you do to address this problem? Do you have your own system? If so, can you describe it? And what kind of success do you see with your current system? Finally, does your school have a schoolwide system in place? And how effective do you feel it is?

I would LOVE to receive some feedback and input from as many educators as possible! I will certainly post updates along the way, as well as my “final” product before I implement it next school year.  PLEASE help a fellow educator out and comment below with answers to the above questions, or you can email me at sarah@evolutionizingeducation.com.

Many thanks, friends. And keep your chin up, it’s almost summer!! 😀

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