Tests and retakes . . . say what?

Test retakes? Do you agree 👍 or not 👎 ?

The past five years I have allowed my students to redo lessons, quizzes, and tests to demonstrate learning. During lesson redos, I work 1:1 to assist with learning and errors, for quizzes/tests, students review their current results and write me a letter detailing what they noticed about their quiz/test and what they have done to prepare for the retake. These steps allow students time to process their thinking and demonstrate learning.


I’ve seen students who initially “didn’t care” about their work change their attitude and “care” because they know they can do better. Students began to work harder in class and prepare for the first assessment attempt. Students share how they appreciate the opportunity to try again. Parents appreciate that I care about their kiddo by allowing opportunities to learn again and demonstrate that learning. I have always believed that learning doesn’t happen in the same way and at the same time for all students. It didn’t for me AND Mother Nature feels the same way – just check out those flowers!!


I know this is a “new way” of thinking, but I am in the business to ensure each student that passes through my class LEARNS!! Honestly, this philosophy simply aligns with my thoughts about differentiating instruction and assessment, including personalized learning. So . . . I agree!


Reworking lessons, quizzes, tests is an option, not all kiddos take advantage of it; however, those that do are more motivated to achieve AND are advancing their learning. Isn’t that the goal in education?


I came across this article in my newsfeed today. Read this article from Edutopia, then vote, comment, and share. I wonder what others (educators, parents, and students) think about this concept.


I have activated a voting poll on my FaceBook page. Simply click on the FaceBook link to access. Voting ends in 1 week – on June 5, 2019. If you visit after this date, check out the results AND I’d love to hear your comments.



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Annette Durbin

Annette has been an educator for 29 years working in the PK-6 elementary classroom, English learner instructional specialist, district leadership, university professor, as well as a mentor for teachers nationwide. A National Board Certificated Teacher, Annette focuses her research on accelerating learning and advancing achievement, personalizing instruction, technology, and leadership in the education field.

This Post Has 54 Comments

  1. Maureen Cardenas

    I totally believe in retakes – life is all about being open to second chances in many situations. And we should all be able to learn from our mistakes and do better. That’s when your brain grows! (Yep, teacher here!)

  2. Brittany

    I think its awesome that you allow the kids to redo some of the work. By the end of the school year kids tend to know way more then they think they do. Even the ones who acted too cool to pay attention. I think 9 times out of 10 kids actually want to do good.

    1. Annette Durbin

      Brittany, I agree. I knew I was doing the right thing when I had a student (really several) have a total turnaround attitude and grades when retakes were allowed. This little option made a HUGE difference for THIS kiddo AND many others!!

      Take care,

  3. Kyndall Bennett

    I personally believe that repetition is the key to learning. If kids continue to believe that they must get things right the very first time to succeed, then that creates discouragement towards pursuing bigger challenges in life in fear of making a mistake.

    1. Annette Durbin

      Kyndall, I agree, and those “perfectionist” students will shut down, not to mention those that tell themselves they are not successful.

      Thanks for sharing!

  4. Liz

    Great to see educators striving to make changes that really work for their students, keep up the great work, teaching is not an easy path!

  5. susan

    I am a big believer in this for many reasons! One is that if it is laziness, usually they wont want to take it again..why? Because they are lazy. Two, if there are visual hands on learners like myself and my kiddos, it takes getting it wrong for it to really CLICK that lightbulb moment and go, “oh i know i know!! Let me at it again because I got it now!!” Three because no…not everyone learns the same way so its unfair to assume we should all be memorizers and reciters instead of thinkers and processors, if that makes sense. I LOVE this post!

    1. Annette Durbin

      Right on, Susan!!! This world is made up of all kinds of people. Wouldn’t it be sad if we all learned the same way, wanted to do the same things in life . . . how boring! Educators should certainly provide a range of lessons for students to grasp and demonstrate learning. Gardner’s (2008) Multiple Intelligences is a great resource for educators.

      Thanks for sharing!!


    I go back and forth on this because there are so many unknown factors, but assuming it was a learning issue, I’m all for retakes. If it’s a laziness issue, I likely would not vote for it. Great topic to ponder!

    1. Annette Durbin

      I know what you mean, Kendra. I do take it on a case by case and give the benefit of doubt to the student. As an educator, you build a relationship with the kids, know their strengths and weaknesses . . . it all works out in the end.

      Take care,

  7. Joanne

    Interesting concept

  8. angela

    This is an interesting concept to help with learning. I don’t know of any of our teachers that have retakes…hm?!

    1. Annette Durbin

      Hello Angela, yes, when one thinks about it, our purpose is for students to learn. I know I’ve had many, many kiddos walk through my door with “swiss cheese” brains – sooo many foundational skills not learned. It makes more learning challenging with a lack of skills. We just can’t keep pushing the kids on – that equals failing.

      Take care,

  9. Tricia Snow

    I would have loved this as a kid and I imagine it would have helped me to engage in a different way had I been permitted to do this.

    1. Annette Durbin

      I am with you, Tricia. I’m glad to see more and more teachers starting to think along these lines. It’s a paradigm shift in thinking for sure.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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