Are Test Corrections the New Extra Credit?

Are Test Corrections the New Extra Credit? | gomominc.com

Does your child’s school offer the opportunity for test corrections?

I have children that span middle school, high school, and college. When my oldest child was in middle school, he attended a private school that allowed students who performed poorly on tests to submit test corrections to raise their grade. When our middle son went to public middle school, he rarely had this same opportunity for poor test scores. Only when an entire class took a nose dive on a test were test corrections offered. However he has had this opportunity to improve poor test scores occasionally in high school.  Now our youngest child is in public middle school and much to my surprise, she appears to have access to test corrections in all subjects for what seems like every test regardless of performance.

And here is why that’s a challenge.

This child is a straight A student. Unlike her brothers who occasionally needed that test retake as their Hail Mary, she has straight As in all subjects. She loves school and is academically motivated all on her own to crush it. Ironic because as our third, we are every bit the stereotypical “Oh you had a test today? Good for you baby!” parents  definitely knowing better than to sweat the small stuff when it comes to school thanks having already been through the process with her older brothers.

So imagine my surprise when she comes home to tell me that she scored a 91 on a recent test but she’s submitted test corrections so it will be a better A after those are entered. Why?  Why in the world are students with straight As given access to even straighter As? Seriously!

When I was growing up ~ yes it was forever ago but still! ~ test corrections were never an option. You got the grade you earned and you lived with it. And if you wanted the opportunity to raise that grade, you asked for extra credit opportunities and worked your tail off to earn whatever points you could cobble together. Extra credit wasn’t something easily scored and it was doled out in small amounts all semester long.

Which got me thinking…I can’t remember the last time any of my kids talked about earning extra credit points, either through in class work or most certainly through doing an extra credit project at home. And funny that’s the first thing I think of when it comes to raising a grade ~ how can a student show subject mastery in other ways to compensate for grades that may not have been successful in doing the same?

Because my oldest is in college and my middle son is almost done with high school, it’s truly our youngest that I’m most concerned about. So I checked out Wake County Public Schools website to search “Grading Policies” and was unable to find anything at a county level that is specific to test retakes. When I search this at large, I find all kinds of school based grading policies that pop up. Which has me wondering if this is a site based policy that administrators are allowed to tweak. Which I can’t even imagine due to all the inconsistency that would bring.

So I visited our middle school website and while I found nothing about test retakes no matter the first grade, I did find this golden nugget about Extra Credit:

  • “We do not allow students to work for extra credit at XYZ Middle School.  Students who need assistance to master concepts and skills receive that assistance through re-teaching.”    

So…I’m wondering if the practice of including extra credit questions on a test or projects throughout the semester have simply been replaced by allowing any student who chooses to pursue it, the opportunity to submit test corrections for any and all tests they take and that is now classified as re-teacching.

But here’s my fear.  What if this practice of universal test corrections ~ re-teching ~ for every test all year long is tied to schools trying to survive the lower scores coming out of the implementation of Common Core and avoid the negative impacts of those lower scores on their funding or their performance reviews? Or are test corrections ~ re-taking ~ this the fairest way to make sure all kids have equal access to grade raising opportunities while in school versus requiring them to have the necessary support at home that extra credit projects might demand.

However consider this. Perhaps this practice of test corrections  ~ re-teaching ~ has a side effect where my children aren’t learning that grades are final. Instead, they assume they always have a do-over. Which means they might not be doing their very best first time around.  I don’t want to be a party pooper here but if you can always improve your grade, why study as hard? Has the theory surrounding what grades really mean and how they are earned evolved into a do-over? I’m sure I’m not explaining this as well as I might but I guess I wonder when do kids learn that they have to accept their grade as a final statement of their mastery of that subject?

Real life doesn’t always work this way.  You don’t have an endless amount of do-overs in the work force. You can’t go back and redo a client presentation once you’ve made it and it’s bombed. Sure you can try to make amends but sometimes the damage is done and you have to start fresh and do your best.  Which means you also have to know how to accept the outcome and move on. So I’m wondering…

Does the process of offering test corrections completely defeat

 the life lessons surrounding doing your 110% best the first time?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of my children for taking every opportunity they can to improve their grades as long as that initiative is taken entirely on their own. Knowing how to advocate for themselves is key for their future success and when it comes to grades, they are theirs to earn all on their own. Our role as parents is to support them with the tools and resources they need to achieve their personal best. And that also means redirecting them to work with their teachers to make sure that happens.

Thanks so much for stopping by ~ we’ll see you next time!

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Posted in Recent posts, School


  • Selfish Mom February 18, 2016, 10:49 am

    Interesting. Test corrections are SO important, so that you can do better next time. But I think I’m with you, that getting that second chance at a better score isn’t quite right. It does seem unfair to the people who did well the first time.

    I had a teacher in high school who had the best system, I thought. Whoever got the highest score got their grade raised to 100%. Everybody else got their grade raised the same number of points as that kid. So if I got the highest score, and it was a 95%, everybody got an extra 5 points. His rationale was that if *somebody* didn’t get a perfect score, he wasn’t doing his job.

    Granted, this was for an honors class where everybody was capable of getting a really good score. That method wouldn’t really be fair in a class of mixed abilities. (I realize this is a bit off-topic but I just really liked his method.)

  • Janine February 18, 2016, 10:57 am

    So, my kids can do retakes BUT the grade you get is the grade you get. So, if you do worse, you are stuck with that grade. I like that they have the chance to bring up their grade if they really bomb it. On the other hand, they often weigh the decision to retake, factoring in how much the original grade really affects their overall grade and if they can really do better on it. But, retakes do not get them extra credit. That seems excessive.

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