Should we get into a tizzy about students meeting deadlines

April 7, 2024

In a recent paper on extending deadlines for student assignments, researchers point out that it is not an issue we need to sweat about.

“This study uses evidence to debunk common misconceptions about assignment extensions.”
“The extension without penalty system was used by 78% of the students, but half of them only used it once”

My two cents: There is always a happy medium between being strict and lenient. Extending deadlines for everyone is fair—not just for those who ask unless they have a reasonable excuse. Many extroverts get ahead because they ask—are we rewarding behavior or learning? Sure, one should also give a fixed number of unexcused deadline extensions so that private issues are not forced to be exposed.

In LMS, one can set a deadline and then “open until” a date. The two can act as deadlines and extended deadlines, respectively. I did this for a few assignments in a course many years ago, and the “open until” became the deadline, and it was all the same. Students catch up fast, and it makes no difference. Less than 10% of the students submitted on time. The extended deadline bugs students though, as the “open until” does not show up on their calendar, and they must manually keep track of deadlines – oh, the travesty.

Effect of Multiple Chance Testing on Student Performance and Perception

April 6, 2024

We just published an article in the International Journal of Engineering Education on multiple chance testing in an engineering course.

A. Kaw, R. Clark, “Effects of Standards-Based Testing via Multiple-Chance Testing on Cognitive and Affective Outcomes in an Engineering Course,” International Journal of Engineering Education, Vol. 40, (2), 2024, pp. 303-321. 

The article is behind a paywall, but you can ask me to send a preprint.

In this article, we explore the concept of standards-based grading and its potential benefits for student learning. We also discussed my reservations about adopting standards-based grading in a large enrollment class and proposed an alternative approach, standards-based testing with multiple-chance testing. The findings of our study indicate that implementing multiple-chance testing resulted in higher student performance, more ‘A’ grades, and a more positive classroom environment. Students appreciated the enhanced learning experience, the opportunity for retakes, and the reduced stress associated with standards-based testing. However, some students mentioned the issue of not knowing their ongoing overall grade in the course. I believe that this manuscript will be of interest to your readers, as it provides a practical approach to implementing standards-based grading principles in large enrollment classes. It also raises important questions about using multiple-chance testing and its potential advantages and drawbacks for students and instructors.

Abstract: Multiple-chance testing was used to conduct standards-based testing in a blended-format numerical methods course for engineering undergraduates. The process involved giving multiple chances on tests and post-class learning management system quizzes. The effectiveness of standards-based testing was evaluated through various forms of assessment, including an analysis of cognitive and affective outcomes, and compared to a blended classroom that did not use standards-based testing. Based on a two-part final exam, a concept inventory, final course grades, a classroom environment inventory, and focus groups, the results showed that standards-based testing had overall positive effects. Standards-based testing was associated with a more significant percentage of students (15% vs. 3%) earning a high final exam score, a higher proportion of A grades (36% vs. 27%), and a better classroom environment on dimensions of involvement, cohesiveness, and satisfaction. Focus group discussions revealed that students appreciated the benefits of enhanced learning, second chances, and reduced stress with standards-based testing. The study also included an analysis of the impact of standards based testing on underrepresented minorities, Pell Grant recipients (low socioeconomic groups), and low-GPA students, as well as an examination of test-retaking behaviors. The methodology and comprehensive results of the study are presented in this paper.