An Assignment Is An Opportunity To Be Assessed, And It Can Be Missed.
Last week I led our school’s Pro-D day (secondary level). The first session was on Social Media in the Classroom (which was an easy sell) and the second was on Assessment and Evaluation. The latter I was a bit more worried about since there were rumblings of “not assessment again.” However when my teammate came up with scenarios with hypothetical teacher names like Mr. Cayrfri, Miss Repeitit, Mr. Fermm, Mrs. Mark, and Mr. Ritin, our colleagues got right into it. We had a number of scenarios for groups to add comments to and it was hard to get people to stop talking and rotate the scenarios!
However, this one scenario came up that I would like to share and start a conversation about. A colleague shared that in her class, if a student does not hand in an assignment by the ‘due date’, she will no longer accept it. She said “that opportunity to be assessed has passed.” Pause… what are YOU thinking right about now?? Just think for a minute about your assessment philosophy before you read on.
Now a little bit more about my colleague’s assessment philosophy. She says further that she doesn’t give a zero for the absent assignment but rather that there will be another opportunity to be assessed. Some of the following questions/comments came up from the rest of the group:
- Do all the students in the class have to hand in the same number of assignments? If not, how is it fair that some students can hand in less assignments than another and possibly do ‘less’ work than the others?
- Is there a minimum number of assignments that a student must do to pass the course?
- Can a student ace a project and not do any more assignments for the rest of the course?
- That does match with the Ministry’s guideline of “Assess work present, not absent.”
- What happens when the final exam comes along and the students may not have engaged in, or covered, all the material?
- How do you stop students from picking and choosing when to do work and when to be ‘mentally and work-ethic absent’?
This approach, because of its uniqueness and novelty (or to some, inconsistency), did get a fair amount of attention. It is seemingly a different approach than most of my colleagues at my school, but it makes sense (to me anyways.) In ways, it is both different and the same, as two of my favourite related blog posts done by @tomschimmer and @datruss, “Enough With The Late Penalties” and “Late Penalties Are Off The Mark”, respectively.
Since time is always the thing us educators run out of, our conversation had to come to an end. However, I would like to continue the conversation. I welcome you to weigh in or offer an answer to any of the questions above, or offer any of your own unique ways of assessing/evaluating your students.