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The Student-Run Newspaper of Townsend Harris High School at Queens College

The Classic

The Student-Run Newspaper of Townsend Harris High School at Queens College

The Classic

Opinion: THHS should stop giving credit for late work

Lateness+policies+may+vary+from+department+to+department%2C+but+there+is+a+commitment+to+being+understanding+of+special+circumstances.
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Lateness policies may vary from department to department, but there is a commitment to being understanding of special circumstances.
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At Townsend Harris High School, teachers have late work policies that are often extremely generous but heavily taken advantage of. While some students may have extenuating circumstances, in general, THHS should not accept late work as it indirectly encourages poor time management and a false sense of security. Upon graduation, regardless of whether some of us attend post-secondary schooling, the end of high school will mark a significant turning point in our lives. It will inevitably both welcome and awaken us to the reality of adulthood. It will allow us to realize that with the freedom and independence many of us yearn to have as future adults, comes responsibility.

The Townsend Harris Grading Policy currently states, “While lateness policies may vary from department to department, we share a common commitment to being understanding of circumstances that may prevent the timely completion of work.”

This is entirely too vague and allows for too much variation. To combat all of the micro-policies that various teachers hold for late work, THHS should instill a school wide policy that uniformly outlines how to deal with late work. Instead of having some teachers allow work to be submitted late through certain marking periods versus those who accept late work throughout a semester, it would be easier for teachers to all have a set understanding on when accepting late work should not be allowed so that students do not take advantage of it. 

Allowing late submissions does not prepare students to face the many realities of post-secondary life that require necessary time management. If adults don’t pay for groceries they have taken and plan to submit payment later, they are charged with theft. If adults never pay rent or mortgage, they are in danger of getting evicted. Students, however, are able to still submit late work, past deadlines, with no excuses and still receive credit. This can cause a rude awakening for students in post-secondary life when they may learn the hard way that the required timing of tasks conducted in the real world is systematic, not based on spontaneity or personal convenience.

Even before the current Harrisites have to face the real world, though, there are side effects of this extreme leniency. Submitting late work can spiral into a habit of submitting more late work. It also leads to a mindset that perpetuates procrastination, poor time management, and a sense of false entitlement.

This perpetuation of procrastination is because although teachers provide deadlines for assignments, students know that they are able to take advantage of it and do not necessarily take it as seriously because many teachers do accept late work often. This further encourages a habit we all know is negative. This procrastination goes hand in hand with the lack of development of time management skills. 

Google Classroom now allows teachers to instill a hard deadline through the “work cannot be turned in after the due date” feature. While this feature may pose a way to improve the late work issue, there are still ways for students to find workarounds to procrastinate 

For example, work can still be attached to the assignment, after the set deadline,  with this new feature, and students can still email teachers at the last minute to provide full credit for work that has been completed late. 

On the surface, the current late work policy seems to make the workload easier to manage for students. However, does it not just create a vicious cycle in which students allow work to accumulate due to procrastination, panic due to the time crunch they are on to submit work before grades are due (as they have work from all the previous marking periods to finish), and the cycle just continues? 

While I would agree that deadlines should be extended if a student has a valid reason, late work should not be normalized within our community. If students feel as though they can just submit late work whenever they want, and teachers still accept it, we are just enforcing poor practices. 

It is time for THHS to adopt a new late work policy that reinforces assignment deadlines teachers initially set, rather than provide students justification for procrastination.

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