We’ve all been there at some point in our academic journey. For one reason or another, we couldn’t deliver our assignment on time, and the teacher refuses to accept the late submission.
But do teachers refuse late submissions because the school prohibits them from doing so or it’s simply their own preference? Is there a bigger picture they aren’t voicing out to students?
The truth is that, even though some institutions have set standards for how instructors should handle late submissions (penalties), it is ultimately up to the teachers to decide whether to accept or reject late submissions.
Keep in mind that they usually have genuine reasons for refusing a late submission. Before we go into details, let’s take a look at what makes a late submission.
What Makes Late Submission
To put it simply, any work that is submitted after a deadline has passed is considered late, except in cases where an extension has already been agreed upon.
Why Teachers Refuse Late Work
While there’re multiple and unique reasons why a teacher may refuse to accept a submission, we’ll be taking a look at the most popular ones.
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Some schools have standard policies governing late submissions. Depending on the school, 10% of the total allowable grade will be deducted every 24 hours after the deadline.
This means a student who submits their work within 24 hours after the deadline will lose 10% of the total available marks. If they’re being graded 100%, they would lose 10%, giving them a total of 90%.
Every 24 hours that pass would also result in a further 10% decrement till there’s no longer any grade left to allocate.
Keep in mind every institution has its own policies on late submissions and teachers in most cases get to make the final decision.
Schools with strict regulations do not tolerate late submissions in any form. Their students are expected to submit assignments and other academic deliverables on time.
Schools are training grounds for professional work environments. Employees at the workplace are expected to stick to their deadlines as any deviation could sometimes result in consequences for both the company and the employees themselves.
Teachers and schools are aware of the importance of adhering to the necessary timeline for any task. And schools serve as training grounds to prepare students for real-world workplaces.
As a result, tardiness is not tolerated by schools and teachers. Simply ignoring tardiness could lead to consequences for the students in the future.
So, while students may feel bad about their teachers refusing to accept late work, these decisions are taken for the benefit of the student.
Fairness To Other Students
Rewards and punishment are necessary on training grounds. Imagine students rushing to complete their work on time, only for someone to submit theirs some days later without any repercussion. It’s unfair to the students who submitted their work on time.
Discourage Other Students
It’s no secret that some students have a habit of taking any advantage they can find. Students who don’t get penalized for tardiness would most likely repeat the activity.
Without punishment for tardiness, other students would also be incentivized to try the same thing. To avoid chaos in the classroom, it’s advisable for teachers to penalize late submissions when necessary.
Assignments and quizzes are not given out to students simply because teachers like to increase students’ work.
Each term or semester’s courses are planned and the information is sequential. Tests and assignments are given to students to help them revise lessons at home and gain a better understanding of the subject matter before the teacher moves on to further lessons.
This is also why teachers do not give out all course assignments on the first day. Obviously, that would be counter-productive.
Submitting your assignment shows that you took a look through the course materials and higher performance encourages the teacher to go on to further lessons.
Teachers would be unable to determine whether students have a strong understanding of the subject matter if the students refuse to submit their assignments on time.
To put it simply, the teacher needs to know that their students understand previous lessons before they go on to new lessons that build on the older ones.
Busy Schedule With Other
Contrary to popular opinion, teachers have lives both inside and outside their profession. They schedule their limited time by allocating specific times for grading and other activities.
Imagine allocating a specific time to grade students only to find out some days after the deadline that a student just submitted their work and expects you to stop whatever you’re doing to grade their work.
Teachers expect students to respect their time just as they also expected to respect their students’ time and effort.
I’m sure this is the one most students want to see. Contrary to what some students may believe, teachers aren’t some power-hungry adults who enjoy wielding their measly power against helpless students.
But that doesn’t mean teachers can’t make judgment calls that may not favor some students. Maybe that annoying student who’s always rude to the teacher decides to submit their work late.
The teacher may just decide to penalize them by refusing to accept their work. Unfortunately, a few other students who were also late may end up as collateral damage in this case.
Or sometimes the teacher is simply fed up with the continual tardiness of a group of students, and simply wants to take action to put a stop to their behavior.
Pros And Cons Of Accepting Late Work
Now that we have a better understanding of the reasons why teachers refuse late submissions, let’s look at the pros and cons of actually accepting them.
Pros Of Accepting Late Work
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of accepting late submissions.
Better Late Than Never (Incentivizes Completion)
Students who for some reason are unable to meet the deadline have no incentive to complete the assignment if they know the teacher would refuse to accept it.
Accepting late assignments ensures that students who were unable to complete the assignment on time would still be incentivized to complete the assignment.
This means they would not fall behind those who did the necessary research for the assignment. They would be able to keep up in class.
That said, it’s advisable to give some kind of warning or to simply deduct some points for late submission instead of outright refusing to accept their work.
Helps Students With Complicated Home Lives
As teachers, it’s easy for us to believe that students have no real problems in their lives. It’s easy to believe that students who submitted their work late are simply lazy.
Despite their age, students may have significant challenges in their lives. Some need to rush to work right after school to help their parents out or even babysit their siblings to support their families.
It can be disheartening for these students who put in the effort to complete their assignments, to be denied submission by their teacher.
That said, the teacher should speak to such students to help them identify the best way to complete their assignments on time to avoid late submissions becoming a habit.
Helps Maintain GPA
No one likes receiving a zero on any assessment. Depending on the relevance of the test, assessment, or project, it can negatively impact the student’s GPA.
A decrease in GPA could begin a snowball effect which could lead to loss of funding and possibly delayed graduation.
Cons Of Accepting Late Work
Now that we know the advantages of accepting late submissions, let’s take a look at some of the disadvantages. Keeping in mind that these are the same reasons listed above as the reasons teachers refuse late submissions.
Giving one student a pass would encourage other students to follow suit. Without any form of punishment for late submission, some students would take advantage.
Not only one class, but other classes taught by the teacher would start submitting their assignments late. Some students have a habit of taking advantage of any weakness they find and exploiting it as much as they can.
It’s not fair to other students who put in the effort to submit the work on time. They expect some form of punishment for late submission.
Failure to punish late submissions could lead to students who submitted their work on time feeling unfairly treated.
Their efforts to complete the work on time would be seen as having been in vain. Punishing late submissions would encourage early submissions.
Schools are training grounds for students to prepare for the future workplace. Deadlines are common in the real world and failure to meet them could lead to consequences for employees.
Simply accepting late submissions from students without any form of punishment would end up under preparing students for the work environment.
A teacher’s day is full of activities. From meetings to preparing content with examples that would be easy for their students to understand, teachers have a lot on their plate.
Depending on the schedule of the teacher, they may allocate specific time for grading their students. Unfortunately, this becomes a problem when a student submits their work days after the teacher is done grading other students.
Loss Of Value
Assignments are meant to help students revise and research subject matter. Depending on how well students do on these assignments, the teacher may decide to revise all or parts of a subject.
Unfortunately, late work may not provide any adequate information as the teacher may have already progressed to other lessons before the late work was submitted. The teacher may have already introduced a new lesson to the students.