Learning and Teaching

Student submits wrong coursework…

What do you do when a student submits the wrong coursework? This is a question I found myself asking some time ago when I discovered that some of my students had submitted the wrong piece of assessment. After getting over my initial surprise at the discovery, I kept asking myself, how did this happen? Is there anything else I could have done? Firstly, these are repeating students who had been sent their coursework at the beginning of the academic year; long before the current students received their coursework. And just in case the information was sent out too early, reminders were sent during the term and specific support sessions were announced for repeating students since they were required to do a different piece of assessment from the current students. Thankfully, most of the repeating students submitted the right coursework which gave me a little relief to know that at least most people did the right thing but I couldn’t help but wonder why these students had submitted the wrong piece of assessment. More importantly, I kept wondering what could be done at this point – what options do I even have as an assessor?

If the students are to be marked on the basis of the requirements for the coursework they submitted, they did not stand a chance of passing the module as the coursework was worth a small portion of the overall assessment for current students. If the students are to be marked on the basis of the requirements for the assessment for repeating students, again, they did not stand a chance of passing the module since they had submitted the wrong essay! So what can I do? What should I do?

After various conversations with colleagues, I eventually decided to give the students another opportunity to submit the correct coursework. So, with approval, these students were again sent the correct coursework brief and given a new deadline by which they were to submit the coursework. I was quite pleased with this decision because irrespective of their reason(s) for submitting the wrong coursework, they were provided another opportunity which could potentially see them pass the module.

Sadly, the deadline passed and none of them made a submission. I was quite disappointed at this outcome because I had hoped for a good ending to this situation. Again, I couldn’t help but wonder why they did not take advantage of the opportunity they had to resubmit the correct coursework. Is it possible that the students were going through a challenging time which interfered with their studies? What more could have been done to help these students in this situation?

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1 Comment
  1. Your superhuman patience with students always astounds me! Sadly repeating students are often the likely to be struggling academically and have complicated lives. It sounds like you gave them every chance to suceed and have to accept you cannot save every one.

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