Higher education desideratum: intentional completion

Desired: a learning environment in which participants engage in intentional completion. That is, they “ship” their work when they decide it is time: not when the semester ends, not when a deadline looms, not when they want to give up.

One of the main reasons we don’t have this is the conventional grading system. What is needed is continuous formative evaluation. What we provide are punctuated summative evaluations: grades during the time-boxed learning experience directly impact a final assessment. This does not provide a “safe fail” environment necessary for real learning. Real learning happens when contradictions within the mind are discovered, and that essentially requires failure. I contend that building an environment to support intentional completion requires embrace of failure and therefore the abandonment of conventional grading.


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