To deduct or not deduct marks for homework handed in late? Winnipeg teachers are discussing how best to grade late assignments — a practice that varies from school to school and even from class to class.
Educators who deduct marks for late assignments at the Winnipeg School Division are being asked to review that practice, CBC News has learned.
Meanwhile, teachers at the Seine River School Division don't deduct marks for late homework, superintendent Roy Seidler said.
"Use assessment to find out where the gaps are, not to punish," said Seidler, who argues that lateness is a behavioural issue that should be dealt with separately from a student's schoolwork.
"We stand a better chance of being able to perform the kind of professional responsibilities we sign up for when we become a teacher."
Most other school divisions have no formal policy on late assignments, letting individual teachers decide whether to penalize tardy students.
Some, like math teacher Geri Breddam-Taylor of the University of Winnipeg Collegiate, say deducting marks off late assignments can help flush out struggling students, as well as teach them about taking responsibility over their actions.
Breddam-Taylor's rules on late papers are strict: she docks 10 marks off an assignment for each day it is late.
"So far, I've been getting an increase of students coming to me saying, 'I need a little extra help so I can meet the deadline.' And that's what I want," she said.
"It does seem to work for me, that if I do deduct marks it does seem to work as a consequence."
Grade 12 student Allana Beavis, who said she has never missed a deadline, believes those who do should be penalized.
"I do think that deducting marks if a paper is late is fair," she said. "Sometimes having that hard deadline is actually going to be easier for you."