I generally don't give make-up exams or quizzes.
A long time ago I used give a lot of make-up exams.
Unfortunately, they created no end of difficulties. Frankly, some
students took advantage and I stopped giving them about the mid
1990s. Make-up exams force the professor to choose which reasons
are good ones worthy of a make-up and which are not. Many times
this choice is completely arbitrary. In fact, many students,
especially those who come to class and keep up with the work, are
not happy at all when they find out professors have made special
deals with some students.
Second, they create inequities. A student taking a make-up exam has more time to study and takes the exam under different conditions than the other students. This is viewed as being unfair by many students and in the past some have complained about it.
Third, there are individual instances that have created special problems. For example, in one instance I made a deal with one student, and made a slightly different deal with another student only to have the first student complain that the second person got a better deal! As another example, I have had more than one student want to take a make-up exam after already having taken the exam. One person argued that she took the regularly scheduled exam when she was very sick, didn't do well on it, and wanted to take a make-up to show she really knew the material.
Fourth, they change in the incentives students face in a negative
way. If it is well known that a particular faculty member gives a
lot of make up exams, students have less incentive to work hard
now knowing they can get a make up to allow them more time to
study later. (This is actaully a phenomenon known as moral hazard
that we will discuss later in the semester.)
Finally, make-up exams in the real world are very rare. You either have your presentation for your boss ready to go on time, or you lose your raise, promotion, or job.
I feel uncomfortable making special deals with people; I try to treat everyone the same. I cannot be more fair than that.
However, every semester someone comes to me and wants to take a make-up exam and they almost always have a good reason, although sometimes not, surprisingly. I had one guy kill off three grandparents in one semester. Another guy was in the King county lock-up. Girlfriends have broken up with boyfriends, boyfriends have broken up with girlfriends, boyfriends have broken up with boyfriends. I've had people who got the time wrong, the day wrong, the room wrong. I've had students who had a car accident, a truck accident, a motorcycle accident, roller blading accidents, and bike accidents. People have run out of gas, had a flat tire, a bad carburator, (carburator?), a worn out ignition system, a broken axle, and one person had a flat tire and ran out of gas! (I can't remember which happened first.) People have had the flu, a cold, a stomach ache, a headache, an eye infection, an STD, a broken arm, a broken leg, a sprained toe, and one person had to stay home to take care of a sick dog. One student wanted a make up to go home to celebrate her 21st birthday (I presume by getting drunk in a bar legally for the first time). Other students have wanted a make up in my class because they had a lot of work in their other classes.
Students in their third and fourth years of college are preparing to enter the white-collar work world. So I treat them as the white-collar professionals they want to be. Missing work is not professional. Don't miss an exam or quiz. Mark your calendars!
Anyone can have a bad day. They are not fatal in this class.
There are a few exceptions to this general rule. I will
try to accommodate military personnel and those who must travel on
university business, e.g., student athletes.
(BTW, by dropping your low quiz or exam, I am providing you with
insurance against a "bad state of nature," e.g., being sick,
forgetting to set the alarm clock, or having a car accident.
And the insurance is free!)