I’ve been thinking . . . which some would say is dangerous . . . but that’s another conversation. I’ve been thinking a LOT about grading and allowing “redos” for missing grades or for low grades or even for not so low grades.
On one hand, students need to learn responsibility and accountability so it makes sense that they need to turn-in assignments when they are due and they need to be held accountable when they don’t study for a test and make a 60. Sure, they do . . . makes sense . . . otherwise we’ll be raising irresponsible citizens who won’t be successful in the “real world”, right?
Ehhhh…I don’t know.
In my job, if I’m asked to submit an analysis of test scores and I don’t do it, my boss doesn’t fire me. Nope, I’m not that lucky . . . JOKE 🙂 There is some consequence for my choice, but I still have to submit the analysis of the test scores.
I don’t get out of the work.
If I’m required to submit my lesson plans following a certain format and I use the wrong format, I don’t get off the hook. Nope, I would have to redo my work until it was satisfactory.
I don’t get out of the work.
So . . . the question that begs to be answered is this – why do we, as teachers, let our students get out of the work?
For me, when I really, really, really think about that question, the answer is apparent. I should never let my students get out of work. Which creates more work for me. Which really freaked me out when I was considering doing this . . . like, kept me up at night wondering if it was really worth it. I fought it. I came up with excuse after excuse of why it was a bad idea. I forced my husband to endure several long car rides while I debated the issue aloud . . . poor guy.
But, my thoughts kept circling back to, “I should never let my students get out of the work”.
So, I did it. I’ve done it. It’s did. My students can redo all assignments and tests (except six weeks tests, semester exams, and the Big Daddy benchmarks) . . . more than once if they so choose. A few still don’t believe it. A handful of them don’t like it. Some of them haven’t redone anything. It’s their choice.
And, that my friends, is the point. It’s their choice. It’s up to them. They hold all the cards on this. They have control over their own academic destiny in my class.
I hear what you’re thinking..I used to think it too…they’ve always had control over their own destiny as students…but have they really?
In some ways, yes. But in others, not so much . . . not AFTER they’ve turned in the assignment anyway. Before, they would turn in a test and think it was all over but the crying. Now they know IT’S NEVER OVER . . . they decide if they find their grade acceptable or not . . . if they want, they take the steps to change it. Their success, or lack of, is totally their decision.
If Bob is happy with a 70 on that test over multi-step equations, OK. If not, he can retake the test (a different version, of course). If SusieQ doesn’t like the 92 on last night’s homework, she is welcome to do another assignment covering the same concepts. If Vicki blows off her project and makes a 20, she knows she has the option of completely redoing it . . . and if her MOM wants to conference with me about that 20, I will make sure that MOM knows she can redo the project as well . . . see how I did that?
So, am I glad I did it? YES. I really am. Is it more work? YES. It really is. But, not as much as I thought. And, most importantly, it has shifted things . . . from teacher to student . . . which, surprisingly, has led to a less stressful environment for all of us.
They know that if at first they don’t succeed, they can try, try again . . . and again . . . and again.