Retests

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Myrisophilist, Apr 1, 2013.

  1. Myrisophilist

    Myrisophilist Habitué

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    Do you allow students to retake a test if they don't do as well as they wanted? If so, do you take the higher of the two grades, or average the grades? Why? Do you have other ways students can make up points they lost on a test?
     
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  3. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I teach elementary school, so my opinion may differ from high school teachers. I allow a redo and then average the grades. My goal is subject mastery, so before a redo I meet with the child to review.
     
  4. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician Groupie

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    Nope, never. They can come in an go over material so they don't miss it on the exam though.
     
  5. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Required by school to allow multiple retests...highest grade sticks.
     
  6. TamaraF

    TamaraF Companion

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    I don't always give retests. If the entire class did worse than I expected, I will offer a retest, but it is given during the lunch hour. I don't use more classtime. This way the students who really WANT to improve their mark will, and those who are just whining and don't want to give up free time....don't!
     
  7. MissApple

    MissApple Companion

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    Apr 2, 2013

    I rarely do it. If an entire class does poorly, then it reflects more on my teaching than their ability, so if possible we cover the topic again and retest. Sometimes I'll take the higher score, others I average them.

    I will allow an individual retest if there are mitigating circumstances like a death in the family etc but they have to arrange when to take it.
     
  8. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I allow retakes. The newest grade is the one that goes into the gradebook. Students can retake any test they want within two weeks of the original test date. Before they are allowed to retake, though, they have to provide me with evidence that they are better prepared for the retake than they were for the original test. Usually this means that they have to do some additional practice work, rewrite or expand their notes, show me that they've made flashcards, or something like that. This policy accomplishes two things: 1. I am not inundated with retakes when students aren't really ready and are doing retakes "just because"; 2. Students basically have to spend at least a little bit of time studying/preparing/learning the material, which is basically what I'm trying to get them to do in the first place.
     
  9. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    I used to. It worked brilliantly last year. I mean, brilliantly. I felt the kids took it seriously and really tried their hardest the first time around. If they needed to retest, they did the review packet, took the test and usually did much better.

    This year... Not so much. Kids treated the first test as a preview. Then, they either didn't do the review packet to retake the test and said it wasn't fair that I wouldn't let them retest or OR did the review but complained that the second test had different questions - even though I warned them that the second test would be different.

    I refuse to drive myself crazy over tests any longer.
     
  10. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    My experience is exactly like both of your experiences at the same time. It seems to depend on the individual students. Many of them treat the original test as a practice test, vow to do the retake, end up not doing any of the evidence/ticket-in-the-door activities, and ultimately retain their original low grade. Some of them take every test seriously and use the retake opportunity for its intended purpose.

    It can definitely be frustrating to deal with the students who abuse the retake policy. Unfortunately, the retake policy is my school's policy, so I have to make the best of it. If it were up to me, I would probably still allow retakes but I'd be even more stringent on the rules/guidelines for retakes.
     
  11. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Yup. It's encouraged but not required at my school. And I really believe in it. But when 90 out of 126 qualify for the retake, and I make up the retake packets and run off the tests and stay after for extra help and only 15 bother to do it (and then 10 complain about the test)... I just have to figure I need my sanity more than I need then i need them actually follow directions on a test. And oddly enough, since I stopped doing retakes, the vast majority have stepped up to the plate. Go figure.
     
  12. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I absolutely allow retests, but I prefer that they be done with me as a combination reteaching session and oral reassessment. It turns out that my grad school professor has the same opinion and has allowed me to correct and improve a lot of my work. If I'm allowed to retest, why shouldn't my students?
     
  13. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    No, no retests unless I am convinced it is my fault. I have made exceptions for students when something traumatic has happened, a pet died the night before, they had to leave school that day with a stomach virus, etc.

    I'm all about mastery too. So if students would like to come back and look over a test they bombed, they are welcome to do so. They can ask me about anything they missed and we can figure out together where they went wrong. Mastery means learning the material. It does not mean replacing a grade.
     
  14. Myrisophilist

    Myrisophilist Habitué

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    Interesting. I agree, but the motivation for mastery at the HS level is usually the grade.
     
  15. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    But what do grades mean? Mastery of the material or mastery of the material on a pre-defined timeframe? I think that this needs to be made known to all because they are different things. Few students will come back to master material if there is no grade involved, particularly in subjects that don't seem to build on one another.

    Just asking, not judging.
     
  16. 2ndTimeAround

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    That's on them if they don't want to master the material. If they won't return in order to LEARN it, then really all they are doing is grade-grubbing. I'm not in the business of assigning grades, I'm in the business of teaching. Therefore, actual learning is far more important to me than changing test scores.

    In my school, a public secondary school, you are indeed evaluated in your ability to learn the material in a pre-defined time-frame. I'm certain that I could get almost anyone to get an A on a test if they had years and years in which to review the material. But instead they are given a semester to learn an entire curriculum. If they take longer than the average bear to learn it, then their grade will reflect such.

    However, I'm not an idiot nor am I an ogre. If I have a student fail every test but ace the final exam AND I'm convinced that it is due to mastery, not lucky guessing, then I will gladly adjust previous grades. Also, if a student seems to take an extra amount of time to have things sink in, I will refer him/her to the appropriate committee for further evaluation.
     
  17. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician Groupie

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    Luckily we have semester exams for them to take to master it for.

    Also, in my school, if I allowed retests, it would be mostly kids with Bs wanting to get to As which would really just be annoying.
     
  18. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    There are kids that are on the normal range of average in various areas that will take longer for things to sink in. Also, students that don't have a good enough background but get passed on to the next grade may not have a disability that needs to be sent to the appropriate committee for further evaluation or even if they are have a deficit large enough to qualify might still need that extra time. So, unless you are teaching slow enough for those on the lowest end of average, you will have kids that just need more time that don't have disabilities.

    I can't speak for your classes, but more and more the standards are being jam packed with more information making the speed of learning increase significantly from year before. We constantly hear about not really having time to give the topic justice. Yet expecting students to learn as fast as the curriculum needs to be taught seems a losing battle for those on the lower end of average.
     
  19. 2ndTimeAround

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    I agree that there should be an alternative for slower learners. I've been pushing for year long versions of core classes at my school. To no avail.

    I don't believe that allowing retakes on tests combats that problem though. I just have not seen any evidence in my classroom that suggests having an extra week for a student to work on mastering the content makes a difference. When it is done independently by the student. I also don't believe that the students that really need extra time but don't qualify for 504s or IEPs are that high in number. Not high enough to have a policy that requires retakes. Something like that can be done on an individual basis.

    I personally have never had a student that tried his/her best during the lessons and on the test, who bombed the test and then would be willing to do a whole bunch of independent work in order to do better on a retake. It is almost impossible to fail a test of mine if you have an IQ over 80 and put forth effort in the class. But I have had plenty of students that would want a retake because they had a hangover the day of the test, because they wanted to get an A instead of a high B, because they chose to go to the movies instead of study, etc.
     
  20. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I'm honestly surprised so many people are against retesting. Slamming the door shut on additional chances to master material, especially if it will return in later lessons, may squish the student's willingness to learn at all. I don't like the idea of contributing to a child's loss of curiosity because he or she may not have picked up the lesson the first time around. I'd rather find out what the problem might have been and find another way to help that child understand and incorporate the material.
     
  21. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I agree, cat. The final grade that I put onto a report card needs to reflect the student's level of mastery of concepts. If I haven't given them every opportunity to demonstrate their mastery, and helped them increase their understanding, I don't feel as though my evaluation is a fair one.
     
  22. 2ndTimeAround

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    I'm against the laziness and apathy that retesting breeds.

    I like to be more proactive. Instead of considering a retest a second chance, I consider the FIRST test a third or even fourth chance for a student to show me what he has learned. I frequently quiz students, on paper and orally, to see what they known during a chapter. I give lots of feedback as we go along. I am available after school every day, with very few exceptions, for tutoring. For every chapter we have a comprehensive review during class the day before a test.

    I honestly do not see how a student would do better working independently, at a slower pace, while still learning new material in my class, than he would working with me and his peers BEFORE a test.

    But putting my opinions to the side, I have just not seen retesting work. Except for my advanced students that are just concerned about getting an A instead of a B, none of the students that I have granted retests to have done better the second time around. I've never seen an F go to a passing grade on a retest. THAT has shut more students down than not allowing retests has. My colleague down the hall reports the same results. He offers retests as a CYA but he's never seen a student do significantly better on one.
     
  23. Cobalt_Waves

    Cobalt_Waves Rookie

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    Apr 5, 2013

    I tried re-tests but found that students ended up not taking any of the tests seriously. I have decided that in the future, I will only allow them in exceptional circumstances (illness, problems at home, etc), or if the students who have excellent study habits also do poorly on the test, making me question myself. In my experience, 80 percent of my students do not study for tests.
     

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