Why Assignments Don’t Get Turned In

Wait, what?! We had to turn that in ONLINE? We had a book report due? But, Mom, the teacher didn’t check my homework…I was supposed to show it to her anyway?

A very HOT TOPIC and common theme with all of our students has become the challenge of managing not only papers, but all of the different ways information is communicated and assignments are completed these days.

Students not only now have to adjust to the different expectations and structures of various teachers and subjects, but also have to navigate where all the information is found for every class as well.

It’s not uncommon to have 4 or 5 (or more!) different websites to work with, on top of traditional paper based assignments and work. Some teachers only announce homework/assignments aloud in class, some write on the board or hand out a calendar, many use a website, some post on Google Classroom (where the long term assignments can get buried on the list of tasks) or use some combination of the above.
Imagine this….

In social studies class, assignments are announced by the teacher out loud in class and “posted online” (but not really until a few days after they are due because the teacher is really busy). You are expected to turn in paper assignments to the teacher in class, but the assignment sheets and worksheets are to be found on the teacher’s personal website (not the teacher’s school site- but you CAN get to it through the link on that page if needed) and then printed to complete at home.

In English, all assignments are posted through Google Classroom and are to be submitted online. The due dates and requirements are listed on the home page for the class and available as links to download – except journal entries, where the template can be downloaded and printed, which are to be hand written and turned in during class. Quizzes in this class are given using an online site, but tests are traditional paper/scantron given during class. Major research papers need to be submitted as paper copies in addition to turning them in through turnitin.com by the deadline. Rough drafts, though, are submitted via Google Classroom. Students must hit “submit” for the assignment to be submitted and counted on time.

In Spanish, all materials are given out in packets and checked during class. There are no online materials available, except the teacher does post links of helpful websites on her school based site. She writes the homework on the board daily but doesn’t post online.
Science class this year is taught all online through an online learning site. It has a separate log in and is set up with videos of all lectures/lessons, plus comprehension checks that must be completed online by a due date and passed at over 70% to get points for the homework. All review materials/exercises, tests and quizzes are found and completed on this site as well. There is no hard copy textbook, but online text chapters are linked within individual sections. The teacher does not announce homework in class or write on the board. Students are expected to check online daily.

Math class has only an online text book, but most of the homework is done on worksheets that are handed out in class. A calendar is handed out on paper at the start of the unit. Homework is checked daily for completion as the teacher walks around the room.
The health teacher posts daily hw handouts and schedules through a link on the teacher’s school website. Students need to download and print these each time they are do so they can be completed and turned in during class. The link is hard to find, but it’s out there.

That’s a LOT, and now with more and more information presented digitally and online for each class, it’s only become trickier for students to manage all of this = executive functioning nightmare.

Have no fear!!!

A quick and easy (plus visual!) solution is to consolidate all of the expectations/guidelines/policies and protocols for each class in one place by creating a sort of MASTER Information Chart (see example below).

This can alleviate a lot of confusion and stress around remembering all of the different rules and procedures for each and every class.

Make it your own and consider all important pieces of information you would need to include. **We strongly recommend you use a larger paper size so that you have it all in one place, but you can certainly do this class by class as well.

That said, the TOP reasons assignments do not get turned in include this lack of awareness of what was even assigned, where to find it, and having too many ways the information is presented, plus…

  • Forgetting to write it down
  • Not checking the calendar or site (didn’t even realize it was assigned)
  • Not allowing enough time to complete the assignment
  • Unsure of how to do it, so pushing it aside or avoiding altogether
  • Not opening or checking the planner even if it WAS written down
  • Nervous about asking for help or clarifying
  • Losing it entirely (poor organization)
  • Doing it, but forgetting to turn it in (organization issue + lack of systems/routines for checking these things)
  • Forgetting to hit “submit” button
  • Was absent and lost track or no planning/assignment management system
  • Overwhelmed and just giving up entirely or upon realizing it wasn’t done, just shutting down/feeling like it’ll never get done, so why bother
  • Did the assignment, but didn’t make sure the teacher saw it and gave credit
  • Thinking teacher is not going to give credit
  • Mad at the teacher for assigning it
  • Feeling it is a pointless or a “dumb” assignment

Generally NOT the reason (but often given by students): “I am lazy”.

Regardless of the reason, it’s MOST important that we figure out what is truly happening in each case, look for patterns, and develop strategies and plans for addressing the underlying reasons so that the pattern can change. If it is due to lack of recording assignments/using a planner, find one and create a system that works (be specific by writing each step/task for every project, assignment, and quiz/test in the days prior). If it’s due to not being sure HOW to do the work, problem solve around what it will take to truly understand (see the teacher, learn to email effectively, have a plan to learn on your own). If it’s due to frustration, brainstorm ideas for managing this and working through it so we can shift the mindset and get the work done. If it’s due to losing materials/papers before they arrive home, try using a “dump” or “drop” folder approach…get one folder where ALL papers go throughout the day (no matter what class or type), and begin a routine of opening that first thing after school to sort and file (or set aside to complete for HW).

We have many more fabulous ideas for addressing all of the areas above (the solutions have to make sense and work for the individual student). If you’re anxious to get started, feel free to reach out to us or check out our School Success Plan, Manual for Student Success or our NEW complete bundle of products (student planners, 3 full success plans – Quiz/Test Success, School Success, Writing Success – plus our complete Manual for Student Success) offered at a 30% discount! *All products available as downloadable pdf files OR spiral bound paper copies.

Also, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. We will be frequently posting videos and interviews with practical and easy to implement ideas and strategies, so be sure to visit often!

For more information and access to tools, guides, and other tips, visit us on the web at www.Solutionsforstudentsuccess.com. Or Contact Solutions for Student Success for a free consultation on how to develop Executive Functioning Skills.


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