Publication Date



Technical Report: UTEP-CS-22-17


Students often start working on their assignments late and, as a result, turn them in late. This procrastination makes grading more difficult. It also delays posting correct solutions that could help students understand their mistakes – and this hinders the students’ progress in studying following topics. At first glance, motivation seems to be a solution to all pedagogical problems: a motivated student eagerly collaborates with the instructor to learn more. Motivation indeed increases students’ knowledge, but, unfortunately, it does not decrease procrastination. So what can we do? We can institute heavy penalties for late submissions, but this would unfairly punish struggling students who need encouragement and not punishment. To solve this problem, we propose to institute differentiated late penalty, heavy for good students and small for struggling ones. This may sound new, but, as we show, this is, in effect, already being done by many instructors. The main difference between the usual practice and what we propose is that we propose to make such differentiated penalty clearly and precisely described in the class syllabus. This will avoid subjectivity and student misunderstandings which are unavoidable if this policy continues to be informal.