Retake Policy Reforms

Suggestions for a Policy with the Best Interests of Both Students and Teachers at Heart

Haley Longfellow, Editorial Board

Currently, a huge portion of the Oakton student body is aghast at the thought of a retake policy revision. It’s unclear exactly what the new policy might be; there are rumors of limited scores on a retake, a maximum score to be eligible for a retake, and even no retakes.

Many Oakton students feel conflicted about this change. On the one hand, retakes can be a lifesaver if a student has a bad day and performs poorly on a test, and their mere existence is an anxiety-reliever. On the other hand, retakes can give students reason to perform poorly on initial assessments and then blur their focus when they must take the time to reassess. This process is unhealthy, and it can be detrimental to a student’s schedule and well-being. “Retakes are nice, but there are no retakes in the real world,” says Danielle Evinger (9).

Many students have stronger opinions about the retake policy and cannot seem to fathom the thought of a change that puts them in a less advantageous position to score high on a reassessment. Many are said to regularly abuse the policy, showing minimal effort towards initial tests. This is where administration probably aims to make a distinction and reform the policy: students should not be completely invested in retakes. Here are some suggestions for reform with students’ best interests at heart.

Has a subject-dependent retake policy been considered? At Oakton, students are fortunate enough to be able to sign up for a plethora of classes. Everything from Astronomy to Human Geography to Japanese to Music Theory is offered. No single policy could possibly suit such a diverse rainbow of classes. Each department could enforce a policy that aligns with their goals for students. They could take into account, for example, if they want to help overworked students cope with rigor, or if they want to conjure more enthusiasm and effort from their unmotivated students. Retake policies could even vary by class, so long as there would be continuity between different teachers offering the same class.

Another idea is that students could be offered a certain number of reassessments per quarter. This way, students would be motivated to perform well on their initial assessments and in turn maintain good study habits.

Lastly, teachers of a certain course could offer retakes based on original assessment scores. If they see that scores are significantly lower than usual, teachers could offer a second chance for students to perform.

Retakes can present students with the opportunity to practice bad habits. When used in the way that teachers intend, however, reassessments can and do help Oakton maintain a healthy educational environment. They promote the fact that it is completely acceptable for students to make mistakes and not be perfect. Hopefully, our school will reform its policy in a way that glorifies this idea and benefits students’ well-being.

Image Courtesy of Flickr