Head to Head: Retakes allow students to learn from mistakes

Jordan Killenberg

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Second chances and do-overs are critical to achieving your full potential.

Assessment retakes need to be offered because they provide students opportunities to improve in the future, motivate them to learn the course material and expose them to real-life situations and decisions.

This year, Grady teachers are instituting a school-wide assessment retake policy. The policy allows students to retake assessments only once, and the new grade is guaranteed to replace the original one. Additionally, the reassessments should be different than the original.

A retake policy like this shows students that it is okay to fail and try again. Students learn that the results they get the first time around are not the end-all-be-all of scores.

This attitude is applicable in other areas in high school. Most high school students will take some form of standardized test during high school in order to apply to college. These exams, such as the ACT or SAT, provide students multiple chances of getting the score they want or need. Students can retake these tests however many times they see fit in order to get the outcome they are looking for.

Between these retakes, students learn how they can improve and what methods they can use to study and increase their scores, which helps them develop a learning method to use throughout the rest of their schooling. When I first took the SAT during my junior year, I definitely did not get the result I was hoping for. However, after studying with review books and taking practice tests, I was able to retake the test and improve my score. This experience helped me learn ways to study that will help me on future assessments.

In addition, this new retake policy holds students accountable for improving their grades on the reassessment. If they don’t take advantage of the opportunity and earn a lower grade on their reassessment, that grade still replaces the original score. This teaches students to continue to improve and to not take the privilege of retakes for granted.

Allowing students to retake assessments also ensures that students learn the material for future assignments. If a student doesn’t know the material, makes a bad grade on the assessment and isn’t given an opportunity to retake it, it is likely they will never go back and learn that material. However, if they are given a chance to improve their score, they would study and actually learn the material in order to earn a higher grade.

In addition, retake opportunities reflect real-world situations in which people may fail and try again and improve. Students need to be exposed to this type of learning culture in order to be successful in their future careers.

Before my junior year, I applied to be on a committee for an activity I am involved in. However, I was told I wasn’t right for the position and wasn’t accepted onto the committee. In the months that followed, I made an effort to be committed to the activity through participating in events and taking on other leadership roles. When I reapplied the next year, I was accepted. I used that opportunity to display my strengths and it did increase my chances.    

Assessment retakes should definitely be offered to students, and Grady’s system of regulating reassessments allows students to improve their grades while also shifting responsibility to students. This will help students learn course material, learn how they can improve and study, be prepared for real-life do-over situations, take advantage of privileges and opportunities given to them and most importantly, achieve their potential.