A Second Chance

Nobody is perfect, right? Why allow one test define a student's grade?

January 21, 2020

A B C D. A white and green scantron. A number two pencil in a shaky hand. They can’t focus because they did not get much sleep after an away game in Worthington last night. Blindly, the student takes the test and hopes for the best, knowing that one test could majorly alter their grade.

English teacher Mr. Engeldinger cannot help a student who recently failed his test.

In individual departments at New Ulm High School, test retakes are not allowed. It can be frustrating for a student who would do well in a class if not for that one bad test grade. Science allows one retake per semester, English none, which can be strict with a busy high school schedule. Teachers cannot plan around work or sports schedules, which is understanding. But with a busy week for a high schooler, there can be no time to study. I believe there should be retake opportunities in every class.

Having taken over eight years of both science and English credits, I have found that the no retake policy is absurd. Good students should not suffer from one or two poor test grades, especially since our grading has recently changed to an 80/20 system. When tests and quizzes count for over 80% of a student’s grade, there is little error for a bad summative grade. 

Hearing news of making one policy for the whole school’s retake rules makes me think the change is on the way. I am not hoping for a drastic change. I believe that a student must earn a retake, whether it be having all assignments turned in, or some other way the department determines to evaluate who is deserving of this tool.

This issue can be frustrating for kids who deserve a second chance on a bad test. But I think change is on the way. In upcoming years it sounds like there will be one solidified rule for all classes which is comforting. I believe our school system will find and execute the right decision for this issue.

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