‘Prof, I Need an Extension …’

Student excuses—don't you feel as though you've heard them all? “My Dad's in the hospital.” “I've been sick with the flu.” “My computer hard drive has crashed.” How often do students offer truthful excuses? “The assignment turned out to be way harder than I anticipated and I've simply run out of time.” Most of us do wonder how many students are being truthful. If it's been a long week, we're likely to respond “not many,” and with some students, we could wager our retirement funds with little risk. A recent study offers some empirical evidence that informs what we suspect about student excuses, or “fraudulent claims,” as they're described in this research.

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