My response to this blog post. What do you think? It really got me thinking.

I agree completely with you Denise and Joy! School deadlines imposed by some teachers do not reflect all real life situations. More student choice, conferences, and portfolio demonstrations of learning is where education is going. It may be further away in some countries, states, provinces, citities, districts, etc., but I am fortunate I work in an area where we are starting to see some light in the tunnel. We can’t see the end of the tunnel yet, but we are moving in the right drection.

Yabrookbridges, agree with you on your point on numerical values in assessing student learning. I do appreciate your post because it has had me reflect on my own perspective. I to agree with Denise that if you worked beside me I would frustrate you because our “deadlines” are often rough ones. I care more about what they can show & tell me about their learning & the growth they have experienced than if they can get something in on time.

Grading is the problem & should disappear sooner than later. What does 80% look like anyway? What does it mean to the student? Therefore it comes back to us to help guide students to create meaningful learning experiences for themselves & guide them in establishing their own assessment models. Again this might be easier in some areas of Canada & the US than in others but it is our responsibility as educators to demonstrate to the uninformed (people who are not educators) that the focus on learning should be the center of all decisions in education & not whether a student’s excuse for not having something in on time. Some are valid & some not so valid. Are we going to give a student a zero for an assignment for their learning when it is not their learning that is the problem? Poverty, mental health, work habits, family, etc… these are all real issues students face everyday. It may not be as prevalent in some but it is overwhelming in others.

If your concern is about students & deadlines then involve them in the process. Engage them in the process. Engage them to create projects, criteria, meaningful rubrics, & help them establish deadlines. My belief is the voices (blogs, videos, & other visual demonstrations of learning) of students in our classes showing the why & how behind their learning will transform learning from quantitative external evaluations to students understanding their own learning in deep & personal demonstrations.

Assessment for learning is a must! Will it be quick? No! Will it be messy? Yes! Will it ensure 100% of your students handing everything in on time? No… but they will be more concerned about their learning & more likely to hand something in on time because they were expected to lend their voice.

We as a collective must look at our practice more critically to figure out ways to meet the needs of all he learners in our classes. This includes students who struggle with deadlines for a variety of reasons. Thank you for sharing!

Hugh

YA Book Bridges

****Addendum added at the end of the original post*****
In my thirteenth year of teaching, there is one thing that has NEVER changed about me: I hate late work. Before I go any further, let me share my definition of late work. In my mind, “late work” is any assignment or project for which a student was present in the classroom when assigned or worked on, and s/he just doesn’t do it. This would also apply to work that a student worked on in class, took home to complete, and did not complete as homework. And, of course, any pure homework assignment that is not completed for the next day’s class. Now that the definition is clear, let me continue. I ABHOR late work. I cannot stand spending part of my instruction time arguing with a student about an assignment that has already been completed that she wants me to…

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One Response to

  1. adunsiger says:

    I really enjoyed this post! I completely agree with you too. It’s funny because I don’t always give deadlines for work. Many of the students have struggled with this over the year. The constant question is, “when is it due?” Instead of giving a direct date, I give a guide. I also give guides for how much students should have accomplished over a given period, and approximately where they should be now.

    We’re doing a Genius Hour style activity in class, and I explained that there is not a deadline. Some projects will take more time and some will take less. It’s the learning process that I want to see. And that’s exactly what I am seeing. I watch students as they remain on task, working with each other, pushing each other’s thinking forward, and inquiring about topics that mean something to them. The deadline doesn’t always matter.

    I also find that as I move towards generating Success Criteria with the class, and not just focusing on “marks,” students have a better understanding of where their strengths and needs lie. They can also assess themselves because they know what they need to do to be successful. Thanks for getting me thinking!

    Aviva

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