The Newfoundland and Labrador English School District (NLESD) has ended a controversial policy that kept teachers from deducting marks when work was handed in late.

That means teachers are now able to award zeroes for grades, and students can no longer wait until the end of the term to pass in assignments.

Teachers had complained the policy was unfair to students who did meet deadlines, and that it created extra work at the end of the year. 

"Any policy has to survive the realities of the classroom, and we learned from our policy development,'  said NLESD CEO Tony Stack. 

"At times, you'll have to adjust and we adjusted the course, in this case, and I think what we've got now is a very good balance." 

Students will face adjustment

At Gonzaga High School in St. John's on Thursday, the news was all the students could talk about at lunchtime.

Gonzaga High School

Gonzaga High School may be the home of the Vikings, but like other schools in the province, it will no longer be the home of a policy that prevented zeroes from being given out to students. (Gary Locke/CBC)

Rhys Northcote said many students were surprised by the news, and that students who are used to passing in work late won't be able to do it anymore.

"After tests, we don't get to redo them anymore. If we miss it we need a doctors note, otherwise we just get a zero for it."

Rhys Northcote

Gonzaga High School student Rhys Northcote says the the new policy will be an adjustment for students. (Gary Locke/CBC)

The NLESD says it did realize there were unintended consequences to a policy that was designed to encourage students to complete their work, instead of teach them to get used to loose deadlines.

"I'm sure right now as we speak in classrooms, the subtle changes to what we've done are being talked about and shared with students, and they will adapt as they always do," said Stack

With files from Zach Goudie