Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Retesting - Testing 1, 2, 3?

I recently gave a test over Rome in Social Studies. Both of my classes did not do well. The students practically had all the info that would be on the test. They had it all in their interactive notebooks. (Maybe a blog post about these over the summer.) The way I typically do my interactive notebooks is that there is a reading. Followed by some sort of questions that pertain to the reading (the right side of my notebooks). Then, the left side of the notebook is something creative where the students show their learning in some sort of an alternative assessment. Think creating invitations, report cards, sensory images, comics, historical markers, speeches, etc. The following class period, we go over their notebooks and hold a discussion. So, in all reality, the students get the information four times. It's given to them in multiple ways through the reading, the questions, the creation piece, and the discussion. Before the test, I give them a review guide that goes in their notebook. I go over it with them, to make sure they have the correct answers. After that, we play a review game. I send that review game out to them and their parents so they can study at home. The questions on the review game are the same as on the notebook review sheets so those students who don't have the Internet at home can still study.

The test is the following day. I'd say the review guide tells them 99% of what will be on the test.

If a student somehow bombs the test. I say somehow, because they have the answers to the test besides maybe an essay question that they should know the answer to anyway. I will write their grade on the test and then a note to come see me for a retest. No questions asked. They can take it again.

Most don't come. I had two come last time. So my question is, is it my responsibility to find them and make them take this retest that they don't care about, didn't take it serious the first time and won't the second or is it their responsibility to put forth some effort, study a little on their own, and come see me on their own?

These are the thoughts that circle through my head at a time like this. I really struggle with it.

Am I an ineffective teacher because I'm not forcing it to them to retest? Did I not set them up for success?  I'm pretty sure that I am. Am I teaching them a lesson in effort by letting them do it on their own? Is their self-motivation so low that a 30% is acceptable to them? My school has a somewhat 80% and lower needs to retest. While I do understand the need to for students to pass/master a topic (my district is moving to mastery learning), if a student has no desire to help himself/herself should that be a reflection on me? Can I make a kid study for things? Is it my fault? One of my favorite teachers when I was in high schools said that, "Students earn their grades. They are not given." What you reap is what you sow. Am I doing enough? Am I working hard enough for my students to be successful?

Let me have some feedback and thoughts on this please.

And some quotes just because I like quotes.

The worst thing that you can do for another person is the things they can and should do for themselves.  Abraham Lincoln

If you do not have the time to do it right, when will you find the time to do it over. John Wooden

"Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming." Wooden



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