Note: I've written before repeatedly about things like retakes and RRR on my Latin blog, Pomegranate Beginnings. As PBP is undergoing some changes, I am opting to post this update here as part of this series. I feel it fits both discussion of Latin and working with all kinds of learners however.
Retakes can be a sticky subject for teachers. I've heard many reasons as to why retakes should be given and why they shouldn't. I've even addressed some of these in previous posts (see above). What I want to consider today is how retakes can harm students and particularly neurodivergent and disabled students and, more importantly I think, how we can use this vital tool to support them instead.
I'd like to take a look at a few scenarios. Some are things I've heard about in general classrooms and some are things I've done in the past. I want to be clear that I am, in no way, trying to target any particular teacher and, more importantly, that none of us are perfect (I am far from it). Rather, I'd like to bring a different perspective to these practices that are often considered "standard" or even "best" in certain cases.
General Topic. Scenario. My thoughts.
To put it bluntly...
These kinds of retakes really only serve a specific type of student:
So... what can we do?
There is no one answer. I know that isn't the ideal response, especially as teachers who are responsible for multiple students (I have an average of 150-180). But, hear me out. The simple answer is: flexibility and adaptation... on the teacher's part. I was afraid when I realised this because I wondered how much extra work it would put on me. After a few years of working this way I realise... it doesn't. It isn't something I can put in a single blog post or provide a template for, however. But... let me address each of the students we talked about in our scenarios:
I wish there were a simple answer, but there isn't because we don't teach computers, we teach human beings. Education and testing, in particular, have largely and historically favoured the neurotypical, affluent, and gifted student when they are the students who often succeed without any help or intervention. As educators we should be working to ensure progress for all types of learners.
These ideas are always evolving and you can find an up to date list of things here. While the list in this post is full of quick ideas you can start using TODAY, the link above includes ideas separated by issue ad concern.
I started compiling these ideas long before I made the decision to work towards a degree in and get certified in Special Education. Rather, these ideas came from seeing learning and assessing issues in my classroom and doing my own research in how best to fix the issues I saw. Below are some quick ideas that anyone can implement today:
Some supplies you may wish to have on hand to support those taking tests are:
This page is dedicated to my compilation of ideas and resources. You can find my sources either in these posts or listed under the other pages in this menu.