Last week I posted about my fractions test scores. This week I want to post about some changes I've made to how I handle retesting. In the past, it has always been our (my school and grade level) policy that any student who doesn't pass (below 80%) the test the first time around must do a retest. Our math program has 2 versions of the same test: version A is short answer, version B is multiple choice. You'd think the students would do substantially better on version B, right? Wrong! The kids who end up needing to retest typically don't do any studying and do just as poorly (often times worse because they don't think they need to show their work) on version B. This has been very irritating to me in the past, so I decided to make some changes.
Before our fractions test, I let the students know that retesting is no longer mandatory. It is now a privilege that they must earn through hard work (aka studying). I gave the students their test results on a Thursday, and gave them until the following Friday to put in 2 days of studying with me during their lunch recess. After they put in at least 2 days of studying with me (many chose to do more than 2 days), they were allowed to retest. It was encouraging to me that so many of the kids who didn't pass the first time around came in and studied during their lunch. Every student who came in to study with me improved their scores. Not everyone improved their scores enough to pass, but they all went up by at least 10 percent.
While I was pleased with the number of students who did come in a put forth the effort. I was disappointed by the number who did terrible on the test, but chose to not come in. Those students will be explaining to their parents why they chose to go out to recess, instead of coming in to study.
Overall, this is a strategy I plan to continue in my next unit. In the meantime, I am certainly looking forward to having lunch to myself next week. The unit we are currently studying is on volume and the students will test on it this coming Friday. Next week I hope to have preliminary volume scores for you, as well as finalized fractions test scores.