In an attempt to get my thoughts out there on some things I have had to let go in reforming my instructional design, I wanted to put together a series of short posts about what I had to let go of.
This is where I would put in a clip from Frozen. But, I think we all know that song by now.
Due dates are a very important guide for making sure that students complete work in a timely fashion. At the end of most units of instruction, there is a summative assessment. That assessment is either held on a specific date if it is a test or has a due date if it is some other form of assessment like a project or student generated document.
Most teachers have class planers with dates for tests and due dates for homework and other assignments. The problem comes when students don't meet a due date or don't perform their best on a test. The date for the end of the unit was a date chooses by the teacher based upon the pacing of a unit. There are a lot of teachers who use formative instruction to drive their curriculum. These teachers have a better idea where their students are. But that doesn't mean that all students were prepared for the assessment. If they cannot demonstrate mastery on the date chosen by the teacher, every student should have the opportunity to demonstrate his or her ability to meet the learning outcomes of the assessment at a later date even if that means multiple attempts. The real work is how do we remediate instruction and get those students to mastery.
In reality, the only true hard line due date is the end of the course. A student is expected to demonstrate mastery by the end of the course not a specific date within the course designated by the instructor. All of our students learn at a different paces. So, we can't set single dates as the one date where all students should be able to demonstrate mastery. It is an unrealistic and flawed model.
For those that do administer end of unit tests, it's important that all students have the opportunity to improve on their score.
In classrooms where students have the option to take a traditional test, students should be allowed the chance to demonstrate growth and mastery if they failed to on any attempt.
In most classes I have seen, the ability to meet teacher assigned deadlines is not a learning objective. So, it should not be something that factors into our assessments. So, students should not be punished for late work.
I understand that this may seem like a radical idea. I don't have all the answers. But the first step is realizing the flaws in the current model and letting it go.