Are homework deadlines "old school?"

By: Kelly Asmuth Email
By: Kelly Asmuth Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - School today is ever evolving. No doubt, it's much different than even a decade ago, when strict deadlines dominated homework. However, District 51 is taking a more easy–going approach to assignments.

"One of my teachers told me that I could turn it in late, because he'd rather me get the points than have a zero," says Grand Junction High School Junior Maile Kelemeni.

"Better late than never" is an old saying that's been well studied in the District's high schools. For several years, administrators have encouraged teachers to go easy on students turning in late work.

"We really do need to separate learning from behavior," says Grand Junction High School Assistant Principle Jason Eidinger.

That behavior is handing in over–due assignments. The School Board believes research shows kids should be encouraged to do the work, and the learning, even if they don't get full credit, or better yet, "I've had a lot of teachers let you turn in late work and they won't dock points for it," says Dylan Arvig, a senior.

But some teachers refuse to follow the free–ride philosophy.

"Most of the teachers I've had, they've been more strict and wouldn't take late work," says Zach Duarte, another senior.

That results in a bad grade, but tougher teachers say kids are learning the lesson of responsibility.

"Real world... the fact of the matter is, I've even been late paying my utility bill and I'm still given an extension," says Eidinger.

Administrators argue understanding the concepts is what's most critical, and flexible due dates are working.

The graduation rate increased from about 71 percent in 2006 to 74 percent in 2009.

"I think more kids would be able to turn things in and pass, if they (teachers) would start being more lenient," says Junior Brayden O'Donnell.

But ultimately, teachers still make the rules in their classroom. "We also respect the fact that they're the professional in the classroom. If they've communicated their policy well, we have no problem supporting them," says Eidinger.

The response was split with all the students 11 News spoke with. About half say their teachers still enforced strict deadlines and the other half say their instructors were more flexible.

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