Teresa Preston

ASCD Staff

Alexandria, VA


  • Posted 6 Years ago
  • 1.7k

When at First They Don't Succeed...

Welcome to the EL Study Guide on ASCD EDge. Each month, EL provides an online study guide to assist educators with their professional development. Here on EDge, we will regularly post excerpts from the study guide for EDge members to discuss.

If educators' goal is for students to learn, does it matter if it takes some students a little longer than others? Allowing students to redo assessments is one way to give students another chance if they haven't demonstrated mastery of the material on their first attempt. In "Redos and Retakes Done Right" (p. 22), Rick Wormeli makes a case for allowing students to redo assignments until they're satisfied with their own performance. Myron Dueck explains how he got over his own reluctance to allow retakes in "How I Broke My Own Rule and Learned to Give Retests" (p. 72).

  • What's your current policy on offering redos and retakes? How did you arrive at this policy? Reflecting on the ideas Wormeli and Dueck present, how might you change your policy? If you don't offer retakes, what steps might you take to introduce them in your classes? If you do, what new ideas do you have for making the practice more effective?
  • Discuss some of the common objections to allowing redos and retakes. How would Wormeli, Dueck, and others counter these objections? Which arguments—for and against—do you find most compelling?

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18 Dec 11, 03:10 AM

Within our multiage classroom, my teaching partner and I utilize standards-based grading. When students are working towards meeting a standard, they usually make many worthy attempts until achieving mastery. This is just the way of life in our world; students just know they will keep working at it until they arrive. Students have individual goals to focus on, and they work diligently each day to 'meet standard' but also review and make connections to previously learned standards knowing that without the 'spiraling effect' knowledge and strategies will not stick. Each student learns along their own path, at their own pace. Their sense of urgency comes from having choice and freedom during learning experiences, related to their own needs. When reflecting on the questions above, I thought of 2 students who redid a writing sample recently without requesting permission. One was challenged by the assignment, but she was inspired to rewrite her paragraph due to the positive peer feedback she received (more like a celebration based on growth the peer had noticed). This mindset for "redos are OK", allowed this student not only extraordinary growth in writing but also a positive social experience, which allowed her to meet communication standards, as well as soc/emot goals. The second student is a gifted student who is currently working on building her confidence in writing (which just happens to be her gifted area). After conferencing with her and showing her examples of writing that was 'meeting standard' we established a couple goals for her. She took the liberty to apply those goals immediately and redo the paragraph. I did not request this of her, but rather she knew it was an option and wanted to improve. Both girls wanted to desperately improve their own skillset, and they were inspired to do so for different reasons and on their own terms. But the culture within our classroom allows for students to take these opportunities based on the feedback they receive. They know we want them to all achieve their potential and meet there goals in which ever way, shape, or form that is necessary! Our daily purpose is not to keep score, but instead offer feedback to assist them in their personal growth. And a big thank you to Rick Wormeli for more fantastic words of wisdom... Your book "Metaphors and Analogies" has forever changed our day to day mindset, as well as the depth of learning for our students! So I appreciated your take on this topic, as well.

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