Allowing students to redo assignments and assessments
is the best way to prepare them for adult life.
students for the working world by
who care for them. Our education
denying them the opportunity to redo
enterprise is lost.
Jarrel plagiarized one para- graph in his health class essay on the dangers of second- hand smoke. Carla came to after-school review sessions assignments and assessments—or if
they do allow retakes, by giving only
One Speed for All?
partial credit for redone assessments
Schools that acquiesce to the fac-
even when students have demonstrated tory model of schooling perpetuate
full mastery of the content. These are
an ineffective, age-based curriculum:
and followed every direction, but she
the same teachers who set a deadline for “Eleven-year-olds learn this topic;
only scored a D on her English exam.
submitting work and then give students 12-year-olds learn that topic”; “No,
Marco was distracted by other things
who do not meet the deadline a zero,
Shadnoosh, you can’t learn that until
when he did his history homework: It’s thinking that the devastating score will
next year”; “Mike, why didn’t you learn
full of incomplete thoughts and careless teach them responsibility.
this last month like the rest of your
errors that he doesn’t normally make.
In reality, these practices have the
class?” When learning doesn’t hap-
All three students would like to
opposite effect: They retard student
pen on schedule, these schools tend to
redo their assignment or assessment
achievement and maturation. As hope
blame students or circumstances.
properly, and they would like to receive wanes, resentment builds. Without
Teachers do need schematics for
full credit for the new versions they sub- hope—especially hope that teachers see moving students through the established
mit. All three cases put our instructional the moral, competent, and responsible
curriculum. But as we apply sound
mind-set to the test.
self inside them, waiting to shed its
pedagogy and respond to real students’
Many teachers reason that they are
immature shell—students disengage
individual needs, blind adherence to
building moral fiber and preparing
from the school’s mission and the adults pacing mandates makes little sense.