Data Reveals Interesting Relationship Between Assignment Submission Time and Assignment Due Time

Blog Post created by Administrator on Jan 18, 2016

As teachers, it’s probably safe to assume students prioritize their assignments based on deadlines, right? But how close to deadlines are students submitting their work? And what does this insight reveal about student behaviors and teacher expectations?


One higher ed institution* decided to find out.


At the beginning, this school’s analytics team set out to explore student course participation patterns in Canvas by looking at a typical week and gathering discussion, assignment, and quiz submission activity. But preliminary results revealed patterns, which led to further examination the relationship between submission time and assignment due time.


What parts of Canvas Data were used?

The analytics team leveraged assignment submission dimension and assignment dimension table. Further analysis results were derived from course assignment information and submission data. Online quizzes and the assignments that had an ‘online’ submission type were included in the analysis. The assignments that did not have a due date/time were excluded from the analysis.


What were the results of the analysis?

Most students submitted assignments before due date/time than past due. (That’s good, right?) However, the median submission time before due date was 30 minutes and the median past due submission time was 1.2 hours.


What does this say about student behavior and teacher expectations?

After a few outliers were identified and removed, the median submission time before due date was 30 minutes and the median submission time past due time was 1.2 hours. The chart below shows that the number of before due submissions was much greater than the total number of past due submissions. Also, the variation in past due submission hour was wider than before due submission hour.


The results imply that majority students tended to submit assignments more often before due time than past due time; and, the likely assignment submission time is 30 minutes prior to assignment due time.



The bar chart below revealed that a number of assignments contained due date/time that were set between midnight and 7am Eastern time, which led to some students working overnight to submit the assignment right around its due time. Taking all terms in the year of 2015 into consideration, the evening period from 8 pm to 10 pm was a popular time for assignment submissions, and 10 pm was the peak assignment due time (when assignments were due).


Therefore, a discussion with faculty to carefully consider their assignments’ deadlines might be warranted.


What’s next?

Some interesting follow-up questions might include:


  • Does submission time impact the quality (points/grade) of submission?
  • Does submission time change over the course of the semester?
  • Are more people submitting on time if deadline is morning, night, evening?
  • What is submission grading time? In other words, how quickly are teachers grading assignments after submission?


What other analytics around assignments do you think might be interesting to pursue?


Post your thoughts below!




* School requested to remain anonymous for this post.