The following is a follow-up to my post on redos and retakes.
Implementing redos and retakes takes extra time and effort, but the following guidelines minimize teacher effort and maximizes student learning.
1. To ensure students understand your high standards, instead of assigning A-F grades, use A, B and Not Yet. The Not Yet tells students that you are not yet satisfied with their learning, but have faith in their ability to learn.
2. When students fail a quiz, test or project, require them to complete a Retake Ticket or Reflection like this one. The Retake Ticket requires students to reflect how they prepared for the original assessment, describe how they’ll prepare differently and includes requirements and due dates. Some teachers require parent signatures on the form or an informal meeting with the student.
3. One of the most important aspects of redos and retakes is that corrective instruction should occur. Originally, I required each student to attend an after-school study session, but this proved too burdensome for some students. Instead, I created a series of podcasts and worksheets for students. I also made use of youtube videos, graphic organizers and study guides.
4. Don’t let students off the hook. Require that they complete all missing assignments before retaking the quiz/test.
5. If students are retaking a quiz/test, don’t use the same test. The idea behind redos and retakes is for the students to master the essential understandings not to memorize the answers (A, B, D, D, C, F, etc. or Rome, Caesar, Pax Romana, Increased, etc).
6. Instead of using the same test, change the question style from a multiple choice to short answer or essay.
7. Another strategy I used was instead of requiring a retest, have the student show mastery in another manner (essay, project, etc.)
8. For students who were close to achieving mastery on a quiz, instead of requiring students do go through several hoops and hurdles, I met with the students and discussed the quiz’s content with the students to see if they mastered the essentials. These brief discussions were great timesavers and allowed me to provide pinpointed and individualized instruction and allowed students to prove they mastered the essential understandings.
9. Don’t average the scores. The new score should replace the old one. Mastery is mastery. It shouldn’t matter if it took the student one or three attempts to master the essentials.
10. Don’t redo or retest on everything. Each of my tests was divided into sections based on various standards. If a student did poorly on one section, but did well on the rest of the sections, only require the student to retake the “poor section.”
11. Everyone is eligible for retakes and redos. High-achieving students who earned B on quizzes, were allowed retakes.
12. If a student continually fails—and I did have them—focus on improvement and seek answers to why this student is struggling.