I am currently teaching an elective course for undergraduate students in the College of Business, at a university located in Hong Kong. Students who choose to take the course can use the course as one of the elective courses to fulfill their graduation requirements, but there are many other elective courses which they can select instead.
A few weeks before the end of the semester, a student in the course, let's call them Tardy, asked if they could drop my course:
I was hoping you would allow me to late drop this class... I know it's very late into the semester but I have taken too many courses this semester and it is quite overwhelming for me alongside certain other things I am dealing with. I have been trying to get better but my mental health is still taking a toll on my ability to work. I am stressed out about my workload and my grandmother passed away so that has been hard to deal with.
(In my university, students are allowed to add and drop courses freely in the first 2 weeks. If students wish to drop the course after that point, it is possible but the process is administratively more complex: "requests for late drop of courses will only be approved under exceptional circumstances, and such late requests must be submitted via email no later than the end of the teaching period for the relevant semester/term for approval by the Head of the course-offering academic unit.")
I told Tardy that I would support their application to drop the course. At that point, they then stopped attending classes and submitting course assignments.
Unfortunately, Tardy tarried on the task of going through the process of dropping the course, and it seems that they missed the deadline to drop the course! At that point, they realized that they had missed multiple course assignments, and this would have a significant effect on their course grade. In fact, since I have to give them a score of zero for those missed assignments, they have definitely failed for the course. Realizing this, they sent me an email begging me to give them a chance to complete extra credit assignments to make up for the missed assignments.
- Should I give an extra credit assignment to a student who missed multiple course assignments, due to their fault in not dropping the course on time?
- As a teacher, is it within my discretion to do this?
- Is it a good idea for me to give them a chance to make up for them mistake? Or perhaps it is a good chance for them to learn a painful (but ultimately not that serious) lesson?
Clarification: What happens if the student fails the course The student will receive a D or F grade, which will negatively affect their GPA. If the course is offered in the future, the student could retake the course, which will overwrite the previous failing grade. Since the course is an elective and not a required course for graduation, and the student is not in their final year, failing the course should not delay the student's graduation plans.
Clarification: What is the difference between dropping a course and failing a course?
- If a student drops a course late, it shows up as an X on their transcript, which indicates a late drop, but does not affect their GPA.
- Whereas if a student fails a course, the student gets a D or F on the transcript, which will negatively affect their GPA as the GPA is a a weighted average of all of their course grades.