I’ve been using standards-based grading in my courses for several semesters and run into a recurring issue regarding student responsibility. While many SBGers use weekly quizzes to determine student proficiency, I’ve opted to have students demonstrate proficiency via projects/papers (some given by me, some student generated). Importantly, I have no due dates for these assignments as I want students to decide when they are ready. I do give some suggested due dates, but I do not enforce them. Again, I want students to make the decision as to when they are ready to meet standards. I believe the ability to accurately self-assess will aid these future teachers’ ability to assess their students.
Semester after semester a recurring theme in my course evaluations is that students want due dates (what this means about the sorry state of education is for a different time). This last semester I was very upfront with students about the “due date” issue & said, “If you need due dates, here are some suggestions, but you need to hold yourself to them.” As expected, students procrastinated, & I again received these same comments on course evaluations.
I am beginning to wonder if I am allowing students’ procrastination to interfere with their learning. My point with having flexible due dates is so students can spend more time on assignments, but I am unconvinced that students are actually spending more time. Thoughts?