If a student moves in mid-year, how long is a reasonable amount of time to give them to "catch-up" before holding them accountable?In my English/language arts classes, we use a lot of specific...

If a student moves in mid-year, how long is a reasonable amount of time to give them to "catch-up" before holding them accountable?

In my English/language arts classes, we use a lot of specific terminology that we refer to constantly (for instance, a compound sentence = two complete sentences joined by a ,FANBOYS or a participle as a secret agent verb).  These types of terms are used constantly, and my kiddos learn and apply them from the start of the year, so I want to make sure I give the move-ins ample time to gain the knowledge and comfort level that the rest have, but at some point I have to grade them the same as the rest.  How do you manage this?

Expert Answers
readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a great question and I am sure that there will be a good amount of difference of opinion. I would say that it would really depend on a few factors. Let me explain.

First, if all the terminology is written down and given to the student, then I would expect the student to catch up much faster. After all, he or she has the information that he or she needs. If the student needs to learn through observation, then it will take much longer.

Second, the amount of terminology also makes a difference. The more terminology, the more time should be allotted.

Third, the frequency of meeting would be another important factor. If you meet everyday, then it will be easier for the student to learn. If you meet once a week, it will take longer. Based on these general considerations, you will be able to come up with a fair time frame.

In my opinion, if you meet at least a few times a week and you have a list of terminology, I would give three weeks. And during this time, I would give special attention to that student, so that he or she can catch up.

stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As has been indicated in prior posts, there is no one answer that fits all courses for all ages and ability levels of students.

If you provide a list of commonly-used terminology and definitions to the students you have had all year, obviously you want to get that material to your new student as soon as possible, along with explanation that these terms will be essential for the student to start using and understanding immediately. If you introduce the terms one at a time throughout the year, I wouldn't expect new students to learn terms already presented unless they are going to be actively used in the rest of the class. If that is the case, you need to provide the background information - having a standardized list might make life easier for you at that point!

litlady33 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think you need to hold all students to the same expectations regardless of skill level or when they arrived in class, especially if you have an end of course exam like I do. What you do to help them reach your expectations is what should differ from student to student. When I have a new student come in, I exempt them from anything we did previously, and give them information they will need that is ongoing. I'll give them a diagnostic test to see where they are and how much time we need to spend on certain things. Then, I give that student as much one-on-one time as needed to catch up on important concepts. If we have a test 2 weeks after the student arrives that incorporates those concepts, that student will be assessed at the same level of the other students.

rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with post #3- it depends on the student in large part. It also depends on the course. In an AP history course, for example, it is absolutely imperative that they go back and learn all the content they missed. In other courses I've taught, it was perhaps less important. In your specific case, it sounds like the students cannot make sense of the class without mastering this content, so I'd give them a long time to master it. Not only that, but I'd also take the time to compile some sort of study guide, something akin to what you might give the whole class for your final, if you have one. That way the student knows precisely what it is you want them to know.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I tend to treat new students who join my classes in mid-term with kid gloves, and give them the rest of the grading period to sufficiently catch up with what they've missed. Many kids seem to be woefully behind in many aspects, while others are so advanced that they need little review. I generally don't require new students to make up past literature reading assignments unless they arrive during the middle of a novel; as for specific terminology and other necessary info that will carry forward for the remainder of the year, I believe that the end of the grading period (be it two weeks or five weeks) is still the most flexible way of handling a new student.  

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

First, I would say they are accountable for the very first work you give them.  They can't be expected to automatically transition to the place in the curriculum you are at, but if they seek appropriate help and work hard, they should be able to complete any new work they are given.

So, secondly, how hard are they working?  I am usually much more willing to give a kid some breathing space if they are putting real effort into adjusting and learning, but are still struggling, than I am to a kid who uses the move as a cop out from having to be responsible for anything.

vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with previous posts that giving them a list, especially a list with examples, would be most helpful.  At the beginning of each term of one of my classes, I give the students a list of relevant terms and tell them that it is crucial for them to bring it with them to each class.  We refer to it constantly. It's also possible that YouTube may have some videos that will help your students get up to speed quickly.


literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I, also, give the new student the remainder of the grading period to catch up on work. What I have come to understand it that the student is not only playing catch-up, but they are responsible for the current work as well. Think about it this way: If they are taking 6 classes, the have to complete the work of 12 in order to make up for coming mid-year. It can be overwhelming, and they do not need to start off so overwhelmed.

bigdreams1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

For me, it depends where you are in a unit when they move in. If I have just started a new unit, I try to bring them in during study hall or  have them get in touch with a classmate to catch up...and then hold them acountable right away. If they come near the end of a unit, I usually exempt them from the assignments in that unit, and start grading them with the start of the next unit.

vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Here's a list of 118 videos covering many different aspects of English grammar. Students might be able to use some of these videos to catch up with their peers.


litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Try pairing the student up with a patient one in the beginning, and allow the student to ask for explanations.
drahmad1989 | Student

one and half month is enough .

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