Students skipping homework and/or classwork? Here’s a solution!

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Documentation of Student Refusal to Complete Assignment

A big problem that can lead to many other problems is a student’s refusal to complete assignments. Sometimes the issue is homework. For others, it’s failure to participate on class assignments. Either way, the bottom line is that child is in danger of failing.

At parent conferences, when questioned as to why assignments weren’t completed, students often state things like, “I didn’t know about it,” or “It wasn’t explained to me,” and my personal favorite, “I DID do that assignment and he/she must have lost it.”

One particularly difficult year (we all have those sooner or later), after sitting through several parent conferences and hearing students say these things and watching parents look at us teachers with doubt, I decided it was time to document this lack of participation.

And this form was born.

The first time I collected homework and handed the form to students, it was a wake-up call, a line drawn in the sand. I wasn’t backing down on my expectations no matter what. Some got mad. Some panicked. But they completed the form, along with their reason as to why they did not do the assignment.

Suddenly, the number of students completing assignments skyrocketed and those who didn’t do the work, filled out forms. Phone calls were made to parents and it was much easier to share exactly the reason given by their child for not completing the assignment.

The next parent conference I brought the forms to share with the parents. These parents, in particular, had been more difficult to reach by phone. It appeared that they weren’t getting the messages left on their home phone. However, low scores on the mid-point progress report had motivated them to set up a conference.

I explained that Johnny had not turned in several homework and class assignments, which was the cause of lower grades in my class. His parents turned to him and asked him why he didn’t do the work. He shrugged his shoulders and mumbled, “I don’t know.”

At this point, I pulled out the forms and shared with his parents the reasons Johnny had stated he didn’t do the work. “I was out!” was his first response. “This assignment is stupid!” was another. There were several more with responses like these.

The conference soon ended with a new understanding in the parents’ eyes and a very guilty look on their son’s face. They assured me there would no longer be a problem. And there wasn’t.

This form has been used at a middle school for almost 20 years with great success. It will work for all grade levels and is meant for documentation purposes and as a way to increase student accountability. You’ll be glad you have it!

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