Letter to the editor: What’s the point of a zero on a late assignment?

Letter to the Editor

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We all know the saying “better late than never” so why then do some teachers believe it’s better not to accept late work whatsoever?
Being a student, I completely understand the trials and tribulations one encounters on a daily basis. That being said, sometimes students are just unable to complete that ever-so-important homework or they were just a little too late to class to be able to turn in assignments on time.
There are multiple reasons as to why students may need to turn work in late, such as the student having to work or maybe the student being sick. Don’t get me wrong, I believe late work should be penalized, but for a teacher to give the student a zero because he or she was a minute late in returning an assignment is irrational.
I believe that giving students a zero for not turning in assignments early is harming students rather than helping them.

Contrary to what some professors believe, this does not prepare students for the real world at all. It tells them that it doesn’t matter what you do in life so long as you don’t do it the way the rules want you to do.
A zero out of 10 alone, depending on that teacher’s specific grading scale, can be detrimental to a student’s grade. It’s not always easy making up for these lost marks and pushing up the grades.
It would be more productive to accept late assignments and then knock some points off of the final grade. That’ll still be punitive and teach students that it pays to return assignments on time.
It may not be the teacher’s fault that the student was unable to complete their homework on time, yet how they go about grading late work takes a big toll on the student. While some may say that the teacher’s intent may not be to hurt the student, we can also agree that this strategy could also inadvertently harm him or her.
I’m not saying the student is a victim. Of course the student is at fault, but giving that student a zero and not allowing them to gain any points is an overstretch of how far teachers can go to instill discipline.
I understand that submitting assignments late can make the work of the teacher cumbersome, but when they take this position, it’s the student that suffers. So before you turn away a student for submitting assignments late next time and giving them a zero on that homework, just remember to put yourself in the shoes of that student and see if you’ll like that treatment for yourself. Well, maybe you were the smartest, most well-disciplined student in your class so you didn’t have to worry about how submitting your work late may well affect your grade, and maybe your life.
The writer, Brandon Walker, is a first-year mechanical engineering student.

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Letter to the editor: What’s the point of a zero on a late assignment?