Retakes in the Classroom: Why They’re Important (video)

Rae HughartBlog, Class Management, Innovation, Mastery Learning, Teach Further, Video

Why are retakes important in your classroom?

So regardless of what system you use, retakes are essential for building this concept of 'you didn't get mastery on this, yet.' Click To Tweet


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Hey guys. It’s Rae, and we are talking retakes.

Now, retakes have always been a hot topic, at least in my circles, all the colleagues that I get to interact with, that are all phenomenal, we debate retakes like crazy.

So we’re doing a quick blog video today, just talking about why it’s important to even consider a retake. We’ll do another blog on how I’ve chosen to do it in my classroom, I’m willing to share anything and everything you need, but let’s talk about why it’s worth your time.

So when we’re talking about a retake, we’re talking about a student’s ability to take an assessment, or complete a product, or complete something that you’re giving them feedback on, hopefully also maybe a grade, and then they would like an opportunity to prove their learning again.

Now usually this is for a student that turns in an assessment that they realize they didn’t really have mastery on, they get feedback from you saying “Ugh didn’t go so well”, and they ask you, can I retake this? Can I prove my learning to you again? Because usually it’s one of two things, either they knew it, they just had a hard day, and if they had an opportunity again, they’d do really well, or it’s a student that never learned it, wasn’t successful in understanding mastery before the assessment, took it anyway, but then realized it’s so important for them to understand it.

So it’s usually one of the two. There’s also a third, usually I’ve eliminated the student request by this time, but sometimes students are like, “Ugh, I didn’t get a good grade, my parents told me that I have to retake this, so can I retake it?”

Here’s the deal – school is a place where students are learning how to be leaders in our community. They’re learning how to take notes, which is a valuable skill, they’re learning how to work in a collaborative setting, that’s a valuable skill, they’re learning all of these things, how to be responsible, keep an assignment notebook, all these things. However, most things in life you get a second chance on, and not only that, but we really need to shape students that are driven by mastering content.

Students that are not okay with just, “Ugh I didn’t really get that but oh well. We need to light this fire that encourages them to do better than what they’ve done. If it’s not good enough, they better do it again. That’s the type of environment, and that’s the type of lessons we need to be teaching our students.

So regardless of what system you use, retakes are essential for building this concept of you didn’t get mastery on this? Well jeez you better go back because this is valuable. It’s not just checking a box, yes I taught decimals, sorry you didn’t get there but at least I taught it, check. It has to be, this is valuable content, that I’m teaching you with a purpose, and I, as an educator, really need you as your student to master this so that you are successful in life.

So retakes really emphasize that purpose. Now, how you implement it, totally up to you. We’ll have an entire blog written for some suggestions for you to consider, but there is manageable ways to get this system in place, where you are then teaching students how valuable your content is, and teaching them how to learn to be advocates for their own learning, so that they’re always working towards mastery.

I’m excited to share this new blog with you, more importantly I hope that you’ve understood how valuable it is to consider allowing retakes.