“Mistakes and failures are precisely your means of education. They tell you about your own inadequacies.” By Robert Greene
My district has rolled out a new grading system that allows students to retake assessments and I am very excited about this. Some naysayers say this doesn’t teach students responsibility and is not ‘real world’ but I disagree. Not only does it teach responsibility but also strengthen students depositional thinking skills such as perseverance and resilience. There are many assessments that we are allowed to retake in the ‘real world’ such as driving tests, SATs and even the BAR exam. Allowing students to retake an assessment also show true mastery of learning; however if only done effectively.
What does effective assessment retake look like? Below I have shared some of the problems I see and how we can overcome them so we are being purposeful and meaningful when allowing our students to retake an assessment.
Problem #1 : Tests are on Friday because the pacing guide says so. Retakes are on Monday, you have the weekend to learn it.
Solution #1: Learning goals do not depend upon every student reaching the same level of proficiency on the same day. Learning goals DO depend upon every student mastering the goal. Allow students to take the assessment when they know the material, including the retake.
Problem #2: Teachers allow students to retake without any corrective actions in place.
Solution #2: Have students create action plans or steps on how they are going to master the material. This holds them accountable for their learning as well. We don’t learn from our mistakes, we learn from correcting our mistakes.
Problem #3: Teachers teach the material the same way when reteaching.
Solution #3: Albert Einstein definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. We need to teach the material a different way in order to help our students.
Rick Wormeli’s Redo’s and Retakes Done Right is also a great read with practical strategies to use in the classroom. I would love to hear any effective tips and tricks you use in your classroom that allow for effective retakes, please share in the comments.