Why am I so annoyed that they're all trying for an "Advanced" the first time they assess a skill? It's a good goal to have... I suspect the goal is not about the advanced level of mastery, but the requirements for getting in "A" in the course, which is some of what bothers me.
I think the other part of the problem is how long they take to do the assessments. They're writing novels instead of a concise explanation. They're trying the shot-gun approach to getting an advanced. You know, "if I just keep writing, maybe I'll mention all of the important things I need to mention for an advanced," instead of "Here are my reasons, and here's how I know they're right."
The length of time concerns me, because (1) it takes away from instruction/exploration time and (2) I have the belief that if you don't know it quickly, you don't have the understanding you should.
For example, I gave a 4 problem quiz on piecewise graphs today, where they either had to sketch the graph of a given function, or figure out the function from a given graph. I gave them 40 minutes to do the quiz. 10 minutes per problem. Is it really so unreasonable to expect them to be able to do these problems in that time?