When are your benchmarks due? And when does the quarter end?
These questions can bring a lot of stress to students at SLA. Since the school is project-based rather than test based, tracking deadlines and the last day work can be submitted is very important for students.
How do teachers approach this process? And are their policies fair for students?
Sunil Reddy, a math teacher at SLA Center City stated, “Regarding benchmark deadlines, I typically decide based on when I can estimate the class acquiring enough of the information to complete a benchmark,”
When teachers plan their benchmarks, they must place their final deadlines on a school-wide “benchmark calendar” — and they can’t schedule two deadlines for a stream on the same day.
“In quarter 1, that didn’t happen until the end of the term,” explained Mr. Reddy, “so when the staff was putting benchmark dates on a shared calendar, I had to put mine towards the back-end of the term, knowing that we wouldn’t cover enough material sooner than that.”
The quarter date finale announcement is not spread out to students in the clearest way, it more or so takes getting used to juggling all missing assignments and the benchmark before one day.
Junior Cynthia To felt Mr. Reddy’s approach to benchmarks is clear.
“He informs you when the project is due and gives time in class, so there should be no excuses to submit a late benchmark. Making sure to communicate with all teachers in general about any issues.”
According to BJ Enzweiler, a physics teacher, there are multiple methods he uses to inform students about deadlines continuously before the end of the quarter, “I use Canvas to communicate all due dates.”
Larissa Pahomov, an English teacher at SLA uses similar methods. “The due date is published on canvas, and I remind students every day during a benchmark work week.”
As for math classes such as Pre-Calculus, at times the teacher warns the class of the deadline within weeks after completing their planning process and decided on a date. “I always give project descriptions out 3 weeks ahead of the benchmark deadline, and it lists the date it is due. I also post that on Canvas when I give the handout.”
Mr. Enzweiler expands on the final due dates he sets for the classes he teaches himself, “SLA end of quarter dates help me as a teacher figure out when my benchmark project should be assigned. This way I can know how much time I have to grade the assignments before grades are due online.”
Students say it would be more efficient if teachers provide daily reminders through email and in class about the final due date for the quarter. They have also mentioned that canvas isn’t the necessarily the best way to communicate the date due to the fact that the website is used for submissions rather than calendar organization.
Junior Meeghan Kersten explained how students approach their deadlines online.
“Whereas we use canvas for submitting assignments, we’re not paying close attention to things that are coming up on the calendar. For due dates on handouts, I look at it once, and never again.”
The canvas calendar lists regular assignment and project deadlines; however, it doesn’t list any official end of the quarter dates for different classes, which is definitely complex for students to keep up with because all classes are different.
Meeghan Kersten continues to lay out her opinions on ways teachers should improve the way they communicate with their students.
“It would be better if they clearly remind them at the end of each class that this and that is due tomorrow, so students clearly hear these announcements and keep up with them.”
Cynthia To expands on the strategies she has in mind for teachers to do to so that students are willing to turn in their work earlier.
“I feel like some teachers should approach the students if they see them struggling because often times students are too scared to approach the teacher and ask for help. This will encourage them to keep up with their work periods, then meet the deadlines with no problem.”
“Even though the end of the quarter date can be hard to keep up with, for both the staff and students, eventually everyone will be able to find a way to adjust to this system that makes SLA different,” said Junior Meymey Seng.