These days, all of the “cool kids” in twitter chats are checking in at 9PM on Wednesday evenings, where #sbgchat (standards-based grading chat) is growing quite an audience. After just a few weeks, I am hooked into the discussions, and look forward to more challenging discussion from hosts Tom Murray and Darin Jolly. This past week, the hot topic was redos and retakes. Before the chat, I enjoyed videos by Rick Wormeli, whose ideas pumped me up to learn more, not unlike a football coach motivating his athletes.
This week’s chat featured some fantastic discussion about redo’s and retakes, with the following questions:
- Should students be given the opportunity to redo formative assignments, why or why not? How about summative assignments?
- How should a redo or retake be altered from the first opportunity?
- What steps should occur prior to the retake of an assessment for the student and the teacher?
- How should the number of redos factor into a student’s grade?
If you have never participated in a Twitter chat, be prepared for information overload. But the wonderful thing is that you will always find someone to share your ideas with, and you can always go back to the archives to pick up on pieces you missed. You can check out the chat archive and review the ideas, and perhaps make some new Twitter contacts.
THINK ABOUT YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES
My advice to anyone considering redos in their classroom is to do some reading, think about your goals, and discuss your ideas with colleagues. Perhaps you will find teachers in your own building who already have begun a system for retakes, which you could attach yourself to. Or create a PLC in your building to think about how a system of redos or retakes would work.
One of the best resources for gettting started is the November, 2011 issue of Educational Leadership, which focused on effective grading practices. You will need to be an ASCD member to access the article. If you aren’t, contact your administrator and hopefully they can help you with access. Rick Wormeli’s article on “Redos and Retakes Done Right” contain many of the same ideas seen in the videos, and a great starting point for thinking about your own classroom philosophies.
HOW TO DO IT: here are resources on retakes and redos from teachers who have implemented them in your classrooms. Hope you find something you can use!
A Principal’s Reflections – blog by Eric Sheninger, with a how-to guide from one of his building’s math teachers. Includes a contract for retakes, and a classroom policy to share with parents.
Dan Meyer’s thoughts on assessment – personalizing assessment and keeping track of skill progress in math class. What I really enjoy about Dan’s thoughts here is the amount of responsibility students begin to accept for their own progress, and in making good choices.
Cybraryman’s List – a comprehensive list of grading practices. From articles providing rationales for differing grading procedures, to classroom look-in, there is something for you to think about here.
The Solon District in Iowa has a implementation guide for Stanards-Based Grading. Check out the sections on student re-takes, and how students initiate them.
Dan Longhurst – On his blog, Dan shares his experiences with Standards-Based grading and his classroom experiences with embedding redos into assessment on newer material. Dan is a physics teacher, and his ideas are easily transferrable to math classrooms.