bonus points for on-time submission: is this crazy?

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Okay, so I have a course assignment due on Friday, but have had several students email or ask me about it because apparently they had been confused or misunderstood the due date, or whatever.  These are majors and generally good students, not survey-level gen eds who whine about every little thing.  They've also been working on a big, complicated group project and just submitted a major portion of it on Monday.  

I am "within my rights" to demand it on the due date (ie, it's clearly listed on the assignment instructions) but I can also see how it has slipped low on the list with the workload of the larger group project, and I have not remembered to mention it or remind them in class recently.  Also, a couple of people have been affected by factors outside their control (it's an interview assignment, and interviewee has been slow to return contact, etc. etc.)  

I could simply extend the due date, but I feel that this is kind of unfair to those who were diligent and are ready to turn it in on time.  Would it be insane to say "You may turn it in any time within 1 week of the due date; those who submit by the original due date will receive a 5% bonus when I enter the final grade" - that is, someone could still get 100% on the assignment even turning it in the latest date, but those who submit on time will get a little reward - an 87 will be a 92, etc.

I just came up with this idea about 2 minutes ago, so it may be the height of foolishness....what say you all?

I'd do it. It shows compassion for your students, who seem like the type who won't come to expect this every time. (I'd never do this with an entry-level class because I'd fear that would happen.) It rewards people who were on top of things, and the reward is more psychic than concrete (that is, it doesn't seem like it will have an impact on their final grade, just how they feel about this project and, by extension, you).

That's my view, too traductio - thanks.  Unless someone freaks out and stops me in the next few minutes, I'm pulling the trigger....

I occasionally extend the deadline when it's clear that a significant proportion of the class really needs the extra weekend.  The reward for those who turn it in by the original due date is that they get graded first, and they seem to feel that that is sufficient reward (and that doesn't mess with my grading curve).

It sounds like a Jedi Mind Trick! Instead of taking off points for late submission, you're giving bonus points for on-time submission!


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