"Redos and Retakes Done Right"
by Rick Wormeli, Educational Leadership, Nov. 2011
One Speed for All?
- Schools that acquiesce to the factory model of schooling perpetuate an ineffective, age-based curriculum
- The goal is that ALL students learn the content, not just the ones who can learn on the uniform time line
- Although we can't do it ALL the time, allowing students to redo both assignments and assessment for particularly important standards and outcomes MOST of the time is highly effective
- Problem: Teachers may feel they don't have luxury of revisiting skills and content to create proficiency for all students
- When students learn on a "conveyer belt", we tell them "We don't have time to go back and teach it to you. Take the low grade and move on." This is no way to treat a child's future or conduct our profession.
Preparing Students for the Real Adult World
- Adult professionals actually flourish through redos, retakes, and do-overs
- High stakes assessments in the adult-level, working world can be redone over and over for full credit
- We improve with practice, descriptive feedback, and revising our practices in light of that feedback, followed by more practice, feedback, and revision
Not Soft, but Tough
- It makes sense to grade students according to their performance on standards, not the routes they take to achieve those standards.
- Making students redo their learning until it meets high expectations demands far more of both students and teachers than letting them take a failing grade - but it also results in more learning
The Supreme Goal
- The alternative to allowing a student to redo an assignment or assessment = allowing the student to settle for work done poorly, ensuring that he or she doesn't learn the content
- Learning is the supreme goal - there are far more effective strategies for teaching responsibility than to simply label a student as immature and deny that student learning