Allowing Test Retakes—Without Getting Gamed
Debates about exam grades and retaking tests tend to coalesce, eventually, around the same arguments. One faction prioritizes subject mastery, the idea that it’s more important to get students to take incremental steps towards proficiency than to punish them with bad grades. The other side emphasizes personal responsibility, insisting that there are very few second chances in life, and that regular opportunities to retake tests simply teach kids that consequences are negotiable. But in a recent Facebook and Twitter poll about whether our teachers allow makeup tests, the discussion took a more practical turn. Most teachers agreed that retesting was sometimes appropriate, but expressed concerns about setting clear limits around the practice. A widespread problem: When given the option of makeup tests, students often gamed the system, failing the initial exam to see what it looked like—and then simply regurgitating the correct answers later. Mastery Quizzes An advantage of this strategy?
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