Ask the Teacher: Do-over assignments

I am very surprised that my fifth grade daughter is allowed to do-over assignments, including re-taking tests. I am concerned that she is not seeing the repercussions of failing to prepare in the way she should. Why aren’t teachers letting poor grades stand to allow students to suffer the consequences?

A philosophical shift has occurred in many teachers’ thinking about grades. By allowing or requiring students to do-over assignments, they are insisting that students take responsibility to learn the material completely. This method actually does not let kids off easy. Students whose work does not reflect understanding are expected to revisit the content, meet with teachers and complete more work if needed. Teachers are also acknowledging that their chosen method of instruction may not have been effective for everyone and that re-teaching may be necessary.

The penalty for those children who have thrown an assignment together or who have not studied well is in the loss of their time rather than a lower grade. The outcome of this approach can be a stronger mastery of curriculum content and likely, the subsequent desire by students to do what is necessary the first time around.


Ask the Teacher is written by Deb Krupowicz, a mother of four who holds a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction. Deb has over twenty years of experience teaching preschool, elementary and middle school students. Please send your questions to her at [email protected]

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