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Inflexible deadlines worsen quality of education

Deadlines control students’ lives. The specter of late work deductions or even worse, a zero, force students to figure out a way to manage their time that often result in stressful, unhealthy work management.

The RBHS Executive Council and faculty are right to support separating academic performance from work ethic and behavior, moving away from harsh late work penalties.

This change will lead to a truly equal grading process for all students, more open exploration and increased creativity. Instead of testing students on how quickly they can complete an assignment, teachers should test students on their mastery of content through flexible deadlines.

The current grading system does not create equal opportunities for all students. For example, one student who does multiple extracurriculars is expected to do an assignment in the same amount of time as one who does not. It’s illogical to expect students to create high quality work when outside responsibilities constrict their available time.

“The current grading system does not create equal opportunities for all students.”

Furthermore, removing penalties for late work leads to fewer “redo” assignments. In studies’ classes, students would be able to come to teachers with homework and go through multiple rounds of edits or advice before turning in their highest possible quality work. In other subjects like math and science, students could ask for help to fix their errors in problems, then re-work them until they fully grasp the concept.

The key to effective pedagogy should be ensuring total understanding of a topic, not rushed, potentially incomplete work just to avoid late work penalties. In classes that are particularly difficult for a student, mastering the curriculum could take months. In a class with harsh deadlines, students’ grades would suffer simply because they are challenging themselves. RBHS should encourage strenuous course loads, not punish them.

For the betterment of both quality of life for students and quality of education, it is imperative RBHS eliminates deadlines.”

Eliminating late work deductions keeps due-dates that serve as a guideline for students to budget their time, but doesn’t prevent them from taking more time when they need or want it. Teachers can often give students time that is inadequate for them to complete the task to the best of their ability. For instance, students in Civics Studies write five paragraph summatives with limited time to complete them, resulting in students potentially turning in work that is far from their best. Writing a meaningful essay can take months. With hard deadlines, students rush their papers and projects, failing to maximize their learning potential per assignment.

Inadequate time management skills are a common argument of those in favor of late work penalties, but students could learn this ability by deciding what deadlines works best for them and taking initiative to discipline themselves.

To enable students to show full comprehension over content learned, RBHS should not penalize students for taking their time to produce their best work. For the betterment of both quality of life for students and quality of education, it is imperative RBHS eliminates deadlines.

How do you think deadlines for classes should be set? Let us know in the comments below.

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