The final exam for my class this semester consists of 16 separate quizzes of five questions each (a quiz for each chapter that we covered) and one more quiz containing 20 questions on a hodgepodge of topics we covered that were not in the textbook. The students were given five minutes for each of the 16 quizzes and then 40 minutes for the final 20 question quiz. That made a for a total of two hours.
The entire exam was online, and I told the students I would make all the exams available beginning on Saturday, Dec 11 at 8:00 am (that was the start of the University’s final week) and they had until today (Friday, December 17) at 5:00 pm to complete all of them. I also let them know that they could take the exams in any order, and could take as many or as few quizzes each day as they wanted. They just had to be done by 5:00 today. They had 153 hours available to them, to use any which way they wanted.
I’ve been checking a few times each day to see how students are doing, and the last time I checked was today at 3:00, two hours before the deadline. 151 hours since the exams were first made available.
At that point, at least everyone had started. But what caught my eye was that there were 17 students who had not yet started the final 40-minute quiz.
Given that all these quizzes were multiple-choice, there should not be too much of a problem completing that final quiz within the 40-minute deadline
But why take the chance?
Now many of these students may have had other finals earlier in the week and had all this planned out at the start of finals week. Carefully planning out all their papers and finals to the very end to maximize their study time.
But some of them are likely just natural procrastinators. And looking back on my school days, it is likely that I would have been a part of this crowd as well.
Now I look at it from the perspective of a teacher, and I think “why don’t you just work on a handful of these each day, or just get it over with?”
I mention this to them on the final day of class, but I doubt if I am going to change anyone’s mind at that point.
Experience is usually the best teacher…
P.S. And in case some of you are concerned, don’t worry. Close to 60% of their grade during the semester was based on non-multiple-choice assessments…
*image from The Pitt News