Do you ever let students retake a test? Under what circumstances? What's the highest grade you'll let them earn the second time around? When I give the students fair warning, plenty of time to study, and review quite a bit in class, I really don't know how I feel about retakes. Please let me know what you think!
allow retakes on math tests. However, if they make a "perfect" score on the retest, it's averaged with the original test grade. I'm torn about doing this, too. However, in my district third grade is the first grade where students receive letter grades on report cards. Between that and testing pressure, it usually seems like an opportunity to remediate. I don't do it every time, though.
Last edited by JulieG04; 10-07-2008 at 03:54 PM..
Reason: grammar oopsie
To me it depends on "why" the test is being given. If it's being given to assess what they can do and the majority of the students didn't do well, I'd reteach and then let them retest. I think that tests show us more about how well we've taught something rather than just showing us what the students know. I use them to assess myself quite a bit. Most of my curriculum is given spirally during the year, several times, instead of just teaching to mastery and then moving on. I actually prefer this because so many times we teach to mastery and two months later they can not transfer it, let alone reapply it, synthesize it or even use it.
I'm a first year teacher barely surviving my first (and only) year teaching the third grade. (Next year I will quit my job or move to a different grade! Third grade is NOT for me!)
At any rate, I have several who are struggling BIG TIME in math class. It doesn't seem to matter what I teach, they fail it. I do not allow re-takes on the math tests, unless the majority of the class fails and I decide to re-teach the unit. (I've done this once, with our money unit this year.)
I do offer extra credit for students who fail a test. Each worksheet has 20-25 problems and I offer 8 points per worksheet with a max of three sheets (24 points). If it's a shorter worksheet it may be worth only five points. This is only for students who fail.
For students who fail by only a couple of points, then I only send home one of the extra credit sheets. For students who fail miserably, it at least helps them bring it up to a high F.
And when you consider that some of my math homework, I grade as strictly a Pass/Completed (100) Most completed (70-80) or Fail (0), it usually balances out to where students have a C at the end. Of course, I have students who are testing this theory and some very frustrated parents.
I tottaly understand that third grade is a transition year, and that some of these students were not in our academically challenging school last year. But some of mine are already developing the "I'm lazy and I don't care attitude," and I'm not willing to bend over backwards for these students.
If I choose to re-teach the unit, then I erase the old score entirely. I did this with one math and one science test.
I did let my students re-do one Social Studies test. It was an open book test, but most of them decided to be too lazy to use the book. I showed them their old score and gave them he chance to re-do it for half credit on the ones they missed. Each answer had been worth 10 points, so they got back 5 points if they got it right the second time. This really helped my kiddos to realize that they have to take Social Studies seriously. IF only I could get them to do this with math!
for being vague...sometimes I allow a retest that is averaged with the initial score. If the whole class bombs, I know I did not cover the material well. If it's a student who spaced it on the test and the parent asks for a retest, I'll consider it. However, with the state testing and students needing to pass the test independently, I often do not let students retake a test. Test scores are indicators and sometimes it's good documentation of what the student can do independently.
I think that students that don't pass a test either don't care, don't get it, or haven't been taught adequately. I can't control the former, but I can the latter two. So, yes, I retest. If they flunk after I've assessed them informally on the skills and concepts and found that they have a 70% understanding, then I write a note in their planner stating that they must have gotten test-anxiety (sometimes it is "test anxiety" and sometimes it's Fun Friday Fever or indifference). I don't believe that all children will be perfect, but we've got to document mastery of standards, so what's the point of failing them? I give them a retest date (usually Friday) and I give them ample time (sometimes up to 3 hours) to retest. I also give them something to review with. Students with minimal skills (for whatever reason) usually end up making a 60-70%. Students that don't get and work hard usually end up making an 80%. I've not ever had a student "ace" a retake. I think that's because the intrinsic motivation to do so is not there to begin with...while I personally believe that striving to do one's best is paramount (and I've always been that way), not all people/children are so inclined. Anything above a 70% is adequate. Why make it hard on yourself as a teacher? Reteach, be patient, give lots of time, modify as necessary...students need to see they can do it in order to want to do it.