Tired of Tardies? Try This!

Submitted by Peter Turner on

We struggle with student tardiness, especially in our early morning classes. We have tried everything from locking the door the minute class starts (which then prevents the student from learning the subject that day) to allowing a maximum number of classes to be tardy in (which we have to keep track of). None of these strategies, or other ones tried, have been successful in reducing tardiness. Plus, the burden is on the teacher to keep track, provide materials missed, etc., thereby increasing our load. This semester, in an effort to improve this, Rachel Holmes suggested a “Tardy Responsibility Sheet” that the student must fill out if they are tardy (see attached). Students know that when they are tardy, they automatically take a "Tardy Assignment" sheet, follow the instructions, and submit by 8 AM the next morning. Failure to do so results in an unexcused absence. While the system is not perfect, it has led to significantly reduced tardiness (by over 75%) as compared to before the use of the sheets! And, the burden is now on the student to not only write the paper, but keep track of their tardies and contact another student to see what they missed.

Completed Full Cycle
Course Number
Attachment Size
tardy-assignment.docx 14.03 KB
Average: 4.5 (4 votes)


Norma Jimenez Hernandez Fri, 04/15/2016 - 10:10pm

I like this idea -- helping the student take ownership of their tardiness.  I'm impressed by the 75%+ reduction in tardiness.  On the first day of class, I have students exchange information with at least two other students and those are their initial points of contacts should they miss class.  They are responsible for getting from others any notes/work that they missed.  My students know that I won't forward powerpoint slides to them but it's their responsibility to get any notes from their class contacts.  Thank you for sharing this idea!

Patricia Cardenas-Adame Sat, 04/16/2016 - 6:17pm

Thanks for this idea.  The writing sheets would work very well in an Eng class. Practice makes perfect in composition classes.

Heather Muns Sat, 04/16/2016 - 9:57pm

I usually just count them absent if they miss the sign-in sheet.  However, your stats are impressive.  I am stealing this. :-)

Olga Tsoudis Sun, 04/17/2016 - 3:47pm

Pete and Rachel, This is a great tool to get students to think about their behaviors! I am going to steal this one for my courses as I have similar issues with tardiness. I will edit it to fit my discipline. This helps the students with success in all classes and even in their careers. Smiles, Olga

Bronwen Steele Tue, 04/19/2016 - 7:47am

Wow, this is intense. In my course students who are tardy do not do well, missing 5 min of information impacts their success. However, I am lucky that there is a huge external pressure: getting into nursing school. 

I agree with Olga, having the accountability brought more forcibly to their attention helps them in the long run career-wise. 

Sylvia Ong Wed, 04/20/2016 - 10:26pm

Thank you Pete & Rachel for such a great idea!  It teaches students both responsibility and accountability.  As indicated in my subject title above, I already copied the Word document and adjusted it to fit my accounting classes.  I currently take roll the first three minutes of class, and if students arrive after that, then it is their responsibility to see me after class to be marked tardy, otherwise, it's an unexcused absence.  Tardies become lost points after the fourth one.  This makes more work for me because I have to maintain records to show these tardies.  Thanks again. 

Sarah Lockhart Wed, 04/27/2016 - 3:37pm

I usually just ignore the tardies but get annoyed when the students that are tardy are confused (and want personalized clarification) during the class period because they are trying to catch up or missed some key concepts from the beginning of class. This sounds like it can help me not become irritated by tardiness.

Roselyn Turner Fri, 04/29/2016 - 9:19am

I have heard far fewer "complaints" from you this semester about tardies!  A much quieter home environment ;-)

Erica Wager Fri, 04/29/2016 - 3:32pm

I love this tardy sheet and will definitely use it in the future! I'll have to change around the questions about my students being future teachers but I'll probably change it to: "If you were a teacher, what would you do if you students arrived late to class?" I like that this makes students think critically about what being tardy looks like to a professor. Hopefully it helps them recognize that it comes off as unprofessional and distracting. Thanks! 

Peter Turner Fri, 04/29/2016 - 3:58pm

You're welcome, Erica! This has made this semester more pleasurable for me to teach with far fewer tardies!l

Norma Jimenez Hernandez Fri, 04/29/2016 - 8:33pm

Very interesting idea, Pete!  Looks like it really made a difference.