Reframing Assessment #2

What is a deadline?

Considering the notion of deadlines in the context of the purpose of assessment almost seems an ironic contradiction… but let’s just look at what a deadline is – or isn’t:

What a deadline is not:

  • it is NOT when you start your submission
  • is NOT to be ignored
  • you do NOT wait until after it’s passed to request an extension
  • you will NOT die if you do not submit on time (you may get penalised – but it’s not fatal – probably!)

Who are deadlines for? A couple of perspectives:

  • deadlines provide milestones to manage progress through subject matter,
  • feedback to encourage,
  • guidance for further development
  • must be adhered to for your marks to be processed and submitted to the greater administrative systems


  • deadlines allow us to manage our time allocations / workloads (that’s when assignments are submitted on time)
  • provide the lecturer/educator some feedback on how students are grasping the content being studied
  • is a compulsory part of the adminstration tasks

So – why do students not submit assignments on time?

  • too busy? (doing.. something more interesting?)
  • conflict between workloads – work versus studies
  • lazy?
  • not motivated?
  • fear of failure? Or not achieving?
  • don’t understand the task clearly enough?
  • not engaged with the content of the subject?
  • don’t care?

When was the last time you, as an educator, heard a student say how much they enjoyed an exam?
Although – I have had some students admit to really enjoy some of their projects that are assessable at the end of semester…
But – the final answer to the original question is clearly more complex than some of the tongue in cheek comments I’ve observed here! 😉

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2 thoughts on “Reframing Assessment #2

  1. As an ex-high school teacher, my experience has been that unless there are explicit penalties made clear for lateness (eg. 10% penalty late per day for first three days then zero etc), students tend to think of a deadline as a flexible elastic band that they can stretch to the length of their teacher’s patience.
    Mind you, penalities might reduce the lateness but will not stop the chronic offenders….
    Nothing is more frustrating as a teacher as planning to mark a task over a weekend and only having half the work submitted. Having to do it in dribs and drabs means you keep having to reload your thoughts on the task over and over.
    I wonder though if it also has something to do with a personality type. Maybe students who always meet deadlines and view them as a fixed point in time are also the types who would never pay a bill past the due date, who hate being late for meetings whereas those who see a deadline more as a ‘guideline’ are a different personality type altogether?

  2. Yeah – the marking time management is an issue for me – I do prefer to do them all at once – but often end up in the dislocated feeling of doing what I can with what’s been submitted…!
    And I dislike penalties – it’s negative reinforcement – and like in dog training, it’s not an effective method for learning – just changing a behaviour, but not encouraging learning…
    Oh – and as someone that hates being late for anything, and someone that works well to deadlines (meaning I meet them).. I have to admit being hopeless at paying bills on time… now – what does that say about my personality type?? hehehe!
    ABB 😉

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