Tuesday, September 21, 2010

One More Time?

In an effort to allow each student to give their best I often allow them to retake quizzes and tests or rewrite assignments. I explain to them that we don't always succeed the first time. Allowing them to try again offers a second chance for success.

Yes, when I adopted this policy last year I was sure students with D's would work harder to get B's or A's. For the most part they did.

Today I handed back the first quiz of the year. Students who had scores in the 90s were eager to try again to attain that perfect score. Many students with scores in the 50s, 60s and 70s opted to do the same. But what about those kids that didn't opt for the retake? What's my responsibility to them? Should I allow an 11 year-old student with a D to opt out of the second chance, or is that a parent decision? For now, I'm leaving the decision with the student. No matter what they end up doing I'm pretty sure they'll learn something from the process.


  1. It might be that an 11 year-old doesn't fully comprehend the ramifications of not trying to overcome a D with a C, or even a B. It could be that those letters do not much matter to him/her, or to his/her parents in the same way they do to the 90s kids who are eager to go for 95 or 100. Your offering a retake to the class is a gift, and optional if you offer it that way. If certain failing students opt not to bother, it could mean they already expect themselves to fail, and why should they try to fail again? I would think it could present an opportunity to confer with parents and work together to get to the bottom of it. (But where does the teacher role let off, and the psychologist's role pick up?)

    As an alternative to giving the class a test followed by a re-test, what about the option of giving the class a "PRE-test" which you can grade together with them while discussing and re-teaching some of the more difficult concepts? This will allow all your students to take the test twice in essence, and will also offer them the perfect tool from which to study.

  2. Frank,
    Thanks for your thoughts...