Thoughts on Test Retakes – Mastery Learning

September 13, 2011 at 11:04 am Leave a comment

Edit: Blog has been changed to ensure anonymity of my students and their information. Thanks for the heads up! – GW

Last week, in my intermediate algebra class, I gave my first batch of retests to students who qualified to retake it. These were students who failed the first test (less than 70%) but had satisfactory homework scores (90% or higher) and satisfactory quiz scores (70% or higher). If a student passes the retake, they earn 1 point for the semester.

Each of the students who qualified for the retest improved from their original attempt, which I suppose is to be expected. I have seen signs that the upcoming second exam will be better for all of these students – a carryover effect. They are asking more questions in class and after class, and they seem to be doing their homework from a perspective of trying to understand the material rather than simply getting a high score.

In order to retake the test, I had students rework their original exams, explaining their errors in their own words. I also had them complete a short assignment before showing up for the retest. On the next exam, I will use a personalized HW/Quiz in MyMathLab as the ticket to come in for the retest.

Do you allow students to retake exams? If so, how do students qualify for that?

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On a side note, my students who passed the first test told me that the perk of a day off on retest day was a nice reward that they really appreciated!

– George

I am a math instructor at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, CA. If there’s a particular topic you’d like me to address, or if you have a question or a comment, please let me know. You can reach me through the contact page on my website –


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