Unauthorized Collaboration

I had three students who are apparently friends who decided to work together on their homework. I am not opposed to study groups. But when 30% or more of the answers are the exact same words, there’s a problem. And they missed the exact same five questions in the exact same way.

I called and left messages requesting call backs. I could have waited until tomorrow, but I didn’t want them to collaborate (and risk another zero) on tonight’s homework. Only one student called me back and she was none too happy. Her mother called me back also. I’m not allowed to speak with students’ parents; it’s against the law in Texas. That didn’t go over too well.

I decided that I would offer them a chance to do one half of the work over, using different sections to answer the questions. I picked nine different sections, so that each student would have to work alone and their wouldn’t be any accidental unauthorized collaboration.

Only one student called me back, though, and I am afraid all three of them will think I intended them to do the same three and not get back to me about what their actual re-work possibility is.

I don’t want them to drop. They have great potential. I just want them to do their own work and not receive a group grade. I hope they won’t let this permanently discourage them from the class.

I called the student who did call me again. I left a message encouraging her to stay in the class. I hope she will.

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