• October 30, 2014
October 30, 2014, 9:52:26 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with your Chronicle username and password
News: Talk online about your experiences as an adjunct, visiting assistant professor, postdoc, or other contract faculty member.
 
Pages: [1] 2
  Print  
Author Topic: lost student paper  (Read 21025 times)
anon11
Junior member
**
Posts: 78


« on: December 29, 2008, 12:40:54 PM »

My worst nightmare happened: I think I lost two student papers worth 20% of the grade.

I have no office, so students were required to hand in a final paper instead of taking a final exam during exam week. They were asked to turn their papers to the department office, and were told that I would pick them up on a specified day.

The last day of class was very chaotic - I had stacks of papers and tests to return, they had a small project to turn in. They also knew that my job was a one-semester gig, and that there would be no returns of papers, except for the final project, after the last class - any work not picked up that evening would be discarded. Students could pick up their graded final project in the department office at the beginning of next semester.

Some students were eager to leave for winter break, and handed in their final projects on the last day of class. I also remember that there were a few papers that were not returned and were destined for the recycling bin.

Shortly after students left my classroom that evening, the maintenance staff came in to clean. I know that one asked me if the papers left on a desk could be tossed and I informed him that they could be.

I am very afraid that the two missing student papers were in that pile. One student is extremely conscientious and I know that she would not have blown off the assignment. I really think that I am the one who screwed up here.

I checked with the department office - the staff says that there are no papers there. I have completely torn up my house, since that's where I did the grading, gone through the trash and recycling, etc. No dice.

All I can think of is that they were accidentally tossed after class. Part of the project involved hand-drawn designs, so it is not an easy matter to simply ask students to email me a copy of the project, although I am tempted to ask them to send me just the written portion. Of course, they will be angry about losing the drawing.

Miraculously, I've never lost assignments before. How would you handle this? Thanks in advance, wise forumites, for any suggestions!
Logged
sciencephd
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 6,040


WWW
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2008, 12:46:08 PM »


Give them an A.

In future, don't be so hasty to throw out papers.
Logged

I just hate it that I constantly have to like everyone and everything. -- moonstone

O, what a hateful feminist concoction!
Jews, communists, "lesbians", feminists and marihuana addicts  --Pyshnov
glowdart
that's a thing that I keep in the back of my head
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 5,647


« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2008, 12:48:25 PM »

You can also email them and have them send you another copy, but I tend towards giving them an A as well. 

I am paranoid about this, thus I do not empty my office or home recycling bins during December and April/May. 


Logged
crowie
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 3,506


« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2008, 12:50:00 PM »

 

I am paranoid about this, thus I do not empty my office or home recycling bins during December and April/May. 


What a good idea.  I'll copy that.
Logged

jackalope
Improbable
Senior member
****
Posts: 995


« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2008, 12:54:00 PM »


Give them an A.

Yes, exactly. I think it is in our professional code of conduct somewhere.
Logged
testingthewaters
Who? What?
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 3,603


« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2008, 1:01:34 PM »

 

I am paranoid about this, thus I do not empty my office or home recycling bins during December and April/May. 


What a good idea.  I'll copy that.

Ummm, do you have much more "paperless" offices than I do? I would have to demand a second office and rent an extra house to do this.



I vote for the "A", as well. Sh*t happens, and given the tone of your post, I assume that this will not be something you repeat on a regular basis.
Logged

Time flies like an arrow;
fruit flies like a banana.
glowdart
that's a thing that I keep in the back of my head
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 5,647


« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2008, 1:17:11 PM »

 

I am paranoid about this, thus I do not empty my office or home recycling bins during December and April/May. 


What a good idea.  I'll copy that.

Ummm, do you have much more "paperless" offices than I do? I would have to demand a second office and rent an extra house to do this.


Closets.  Bags of paper in the closets, and boxes of it under the desks.  Anything that does get recycled is very closely checked page by page to make sure it is not student related at all.
Logged
bluesocks
Senior member
****
Posts: 314


« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2008, 11:35:14 PM »

I would look at the other assignments.  If they had B's on everything--I would likely give them a B in the course.  If they had some B's and some C's, I would give them the higher grade.  So, I would look at their work over the semester and assign a grade for the course.

blue
Logged
shrek
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 1,948


« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2008, 11:38:22 PM »

I'd e-mail the students, ask them to please e-mail me a copy of their paper. They should have a copy they can send. I've had this happen (and found the papers once I had the copies) but it wasn't a problem.
Logged
anon11
Junior member
**
Posts: 78


« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2008, 3:13:32 PM »

Thanks for the good advice, everyone. I emailed the students but got no reply (they probably don't check their uni email while on break), although that would have been the easy solution during the semester.

Once I calmed down and finished the grading of the other papers, I saw that everyone else did well on the assignment. It would be unlikely that these students would not do well also. So, based on your feedback, I made a grading decision that I think will satisfy everyone.

This is the first time I have taught a smaller class (20-ish) and so I was not as careful as I have been in larger classes. In those classes, everyone comes up to the front of the room and puts their assignments in interdepartmental mail envelopes and signs the envelope. I have a few stations around the front of the room so it does not take too long. I watch the whole process and have had no one "pretend" to put the assignment in the envelope or have someone sign in for two people. I thought I could dispense with this in a smaller class, but with the volume of paper that even a small class generates, that was not a good idea.   

I am very grateful for the comments you gave. Nothing like the forum to call out the wisdom of more experienced people....
Logged
jerseyjay
Senior member
****
Posts: 749


« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2008, 1:20:52 AM »

This has not happened to me (yet). A suggestion for the future--tell the students the first day (and in the syllabus) to always keep electronic copies of assignments, at least until they receive a grade. 

I second this. I tell my students, and put it in the syllabus, that they should keep copies of all the work they turn in. If I loose it, its my fault but their problem. (I mean, this is something they should learn anyway: always keep copies of important documents.)

I, too, have lost papers (although very very rarely). As a student and a professor, I have seen the following:
--professor putting papers on top of his car and driving off;
--professor getting mugged and thieves take bag full of papers;
--professor misplacing essays in office;
--student claiming to turn in paper when he didn't.

I also tell my students they should keep copies of all work returned because if I accidentally mark the wrong grade in my book, again, it's my fault but their problem.
Logged
aneumey
Member
***
Posts: 163


« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2009, 10:36:12 PM »

I thought I did this once...gave the student an A.  It turned out the missing paper never existed.  After getting the A, the student tried the same scam in EVERY class the next semester and ended up being expelled.
Logged
rodentmind
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 1,831


« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2009, 11:28:10 PM »

I thought I did this once...gave the student an A.  It turned out the missing paper never existed.  After getting the A, the student tried the same scam in EVERY class the next semester and ended up being expelled.

Nightmare student! Some students just like to see how much they can get away with. I had a serious plagiarism case once where the student had put so much work into splicing together cribbed sentences that writing his own paper wouldn't have been much more work. He just did it b/c he had a bad attitude (an attitude that caused him to do similar things in 2 other classes at the same time; student has since been expelled).

Anyway, Option 1 is: Ask if they can email you a copy. If they can't, give 'em an A for the assignment. Option 2 is: give them the grade in the class they would be likely to receive.
Logged
dr_c_b
Department of Philosophy
Member
***
Posts: 125

Dr. phil. C. B.


« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2009, 2:48:58 PM »

That is a most interesting discussion to me. After severe trouble in a similar case, my faculty decided that every student has to hand in a printed an electronic version of his or her paper. 
Logged
ruralguy
Super Duper Zillion Star Member
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 6,663

Full Prof; STEM; SLAC; Rural US


« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2009, 3:53:58 PM »


Wouldn't  a more sensible solution be:

Give student two choices (1) take grade up to that point (2)
replace the assignment with another paper

Maybe people were just joking with the automatic A thing, but that
just doesn't sound right.
Logged
Pages: [1] 2
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.9 | SMF © 2006-2008, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
  • 1255 Twenty-Third St., N.W.
  • Washington, D.C. 20037
subscribe today

Get the insight you need for success in academe.