you shoud let kids retake testyes

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pacorz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Sorry to be disagreeable, missy575, but science hasn't been a "fact-based" class for years. It's about process skills. I think that one of the most positive trends I have seen in my 25+ years of teaching is the movement away from fact regurgitation toward demonstrating skill sets. In New England, even the NECAP, our regional standardized testing, has a hands-on component for science. It's not only similar to math in this way, in the case of chemistry and physics it's even more process oriented.

The larger question that this discussion is part of is: What is the purpose of a test? If you're just testing to generate grades so you can move on to the next topic, you don't need to do retakes. If you are using grades to punish behavioral issues, then flunk away.

But, if tests and grades are tools to assess learning (and by extension teaching), then a student who has failed a test is giving the teacher an indicator that remediation is required. Whether to put the onus on the student or the teacher is another discussion, but the fact is when a student fails a test there should be some educational reaction.

pacorz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the school where I teach,  teachers are required to allow retakes of tests. However there are limitations. First, the student must, in the teacher's opinion, make an honest effort on the test the first time around. If not, then a retake is not an option. Second, the student has to do remedial work on the material on his or her own time and submit it within 10 days. Third, the "redo" test is not necessarily the same test as the original one, it just covers the same learning objectives. Fourth, once a student has done a retake, the grade on the retake is the one that counts, even if it is lower than the original grade.

This gives students a second chance, but they have to earn it. It also discourages students from retaking a test just to try to bring it up one or two points.


brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don't let kids retake tests, but I also build a grading system where failing one or two tests isn't going to kill your grade.  It rewards people who have good attendance, and who recognize and work on their weak areas and skills and make an effort to bring their content knowledge up to par.  Students who never study or who procrastinate don't get scores as high as those who do study and manage time wisely, but that's not unreasonable in my book.  Students that don't test well--and there are some--can concentrate on their assignments and participation and still earn above average to excellent grades.  In a system like this, retakes aren't necessary or important.  Consistent study skills and habits are.

lsumner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with post number five specifically. I will drop one low test grade. This way a student will not suffer if he or she just had a bad day testing. If a few students repeatedly fail tests, the problem is theirs. If the whole class fails, I must reteach and retest. Perhaps, I did not present the material very well. If students repeatedly fail tests, especially in all of their classes, there is another issue going on. These students are simply not studying and they should not be allowed to get by with procrastination. I am not doing them a favor by retesting, and retesting, and retesting. I am allowing them to become habitual procrastinators.

missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with litteacher8 in terms of the expiration on learning. Often a re-take of a test makes the details forgot on the first test so much more solid once finally learned. However, when a test date is approaching, and review takes place in class, and study guides are distributed and explained, students really have no excuse.

Math may be a different matter, but as for the very fact based classes of English, science, and history, re-takes should not have to occur if good teaching has already taken place and students have at least made an attempt.

M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Of course we have to allow kids to re-take tests. How could we establish baseline data if we do not have a pre-and post test that shows growth or loss in one way or another? This, of course, is from a uniquely quantitative perspective. There is also assessment for learning and OF learning, which may require pre and post testing, and which also assesses growth or loss. Just look at the assessment and, if it is well-prepared, then the student should be able to take it twice.

lmetcalf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If your goal is masteryof a content or a skill, then I think you must re-test until the student reaches mastery, by whatever standard you have determined.  As for how the re-tests calculate into a final grade is another discussion.  As a teacher or team of teachers you will have to decide on this policy. I do think it is important to think about the difference between summative testing and testing for mastery in regards to how this going to affect your teaching.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don't think so.  I think that if you fail a test or do really badly, that's water under the bridge.  You shouldn't be able to slack off and then get to do the test again.  What I do is I tell students that if they can prove that it was a one time bad test (by doing better on the rest of the work and tests) I'll give them a break.  That gives them a chance to really earn (over the course of the whole class) the right to have that test not count.

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I believe it depends. Giving a test as a pretest and then after as a post-test sometimes helps students focus on the material presented. But, if the test was given, and everyone failed, a teacher needs to look at two possibilities: one, material was not taught properly; two, the students could not grasp the information. A re-teach and re-test would be proper.

jarumi344 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I feel like it is my responsibilty as a teacher to ensure that students learn ... it really doesn't matter if they learn the material the first time around or the tenth time.  With that being said, students who re-take exams are given different questions / prompts and are not able to earn 100% on the re-take.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
In some cases, I do think kids should retake tests. In general, I think it's much better for them to be retested on the material in a different test. There is no expiration date on learning. I don't think it's more important that kids know the content at 10am Tuesday. It's more important that they know it.
homeschooldoot | Student

Tests aren't for the purpose of grades, they're for the purpose of knowing what the children have learned, and if my students do badly on a test, I honestly have to look at myself and reevaluate how I should teach the topic, because clearly I failed the student if the student failed the test, so in many cases, yes, I allow retakes.

king-dol | Student

Everyone has a second chance, including students. Just because of one failure you take that into consideration, that's not right. I think everyone has rights to fail including us teachers so why not give a second chance. To err is human, failure is part of development. There is no one who never failed once in their lives, beit job application or tests. So, I support retests!

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