Teachers advocate for test retakes


Jordan Greene

Sarah Nissov, a junior, writes down her tests for the week so she can study efficiently.

Jordan Greene, Staff Writer

Students don’t want to see themselves fail. 

After receiving a poor grade on a test, many students store the paper away and never look back at it. However, in many cases, one test grade does not truly reflect a student’s knowledge and understanding of a concept.

Physics teacher Veronica Heintz is a strong believer in a growth mindset and has a unique grading system that encourages students to learn from their mistakes.

“When I was a student teacher in my teacher education program, the class that I worked with had this whole program and grading system focused on standard based learning. This means that all the content was broken up into these tiny standards. Students had the chance to prove that they had mastered these standards throughout the year. The reason that I am super inspired by this is because it gets to what the heart of school and learning is all about, not just competition or trying to cram kids’ minds full of things,” said Heintz. 

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Many students like the idea of teachers giving them the opportunity to retake tests.

“I think test retakes are amazing. They help students learn and understand concepts rather than just focusing on getting the answer right on the first try,” said junior Erin Schoemehl.

Test retakes also provide students with the chance to learn from their mistakes and dive deeper into a subject.

Eli Melmon, a junior, said, “When I get tests back that I didn’t do well on, I usually don’t do anything about it. I will just ignore my mistakes because I know that there is nothing I can do to fix them. Looking forward, I wish that all my teachers mandated retakes so that I could learn what I’m doing wrong and master the skill.”

Carlmont has held multiple professional development sessions on standard based learning that inspire teachers to look deeper at the benefits of test retakes.

“The traditional grading system only rewards people for learning quickly. Education research shows that you actually can’t learn quickly and that you need to make a lot of mistakes before you can fully learn. Even if you don’t understand it the first week or the week of the quiz, if you prove that you know it by December, you should be able to show that in your grade,” said Heintz.

Although many teachers are considering the possibility of retakes, others prefer the traditional testing method.

“While I see the value of retakes, I believe that students should master the skills before a test. I try hard to prepare my class for tests by going over material and making sure they completely understand the concepts,” said math teacher Andy Ramroth.

Despite the debate about test retakes, many believe that the results of retakes are successful. Students are able to gain a concrete understanding of the information so that they can move on to harder topics and fully master the material.

“Going back and recognizing my mistakes and then learning from them is so much better and more helpful than just trying to get it once and not looking back at the test ever again. I hope that more teachers become aware of the positive benefits of retakes and how much they would help students succeed,” said Schoemehl.