Those two words can be the cause of stress and anxiety for some but it doesn’t have to be that way. The creation of staged assignments can help!
For students, the looming deadline of a paper near the end of the term can be complicated by poor planning and/or leaving inadequate time to complete the assignment. This procrastination means an assignment gets done all at once and possibly poorly.
For faculty, papers done in a rush at the end not only require attention on a shorter time frame but the quality is often poor and grading can be arduous.
What is “staging”?
Staging is the sequencing assignments and activities to allow ample time to develop ideas and make revisions.
To do this, look at the large assignment in your class. Think about how it could be divided up and assigned throughout the term to allow for greater success (and less procrastination).
You’ll likely find some breaking points that students could do in smaller assessments. This will build in structure that doesn’t allow them to procrastinate as much and give you more opportunities to provide feedback.
How do I stage an assignment?
Let’s take a research term paper and break it down.
The expectation is that the paper has a title, an abstract, the body of the paper with organized content, and references in order to have a complete paper and for it to be free of grammatical errors. How can we stage this assignment?
- Week 2: Article Abstracts – Find articles that relate to what your project might be, cite, and provide a summary.
- Week 4: Project Proposal – Based upon your articles and feedback from your instructor, create a proposal
- Week 6: Outline of Paper including references
- Week 8: Rough Draft of entire paper to be instructor and peer reviewed
- End of term: Final paper with revisions based upon peer and instructor feedback.
With this staging, both you and the student will know the paper is on track and will have both have had the time to head off problems before the final submission. It’s a win-win!
Read more: Queen’s University: Formative Feedback & Multi-Stage Assignments