Part of standards based grading is getting students to remediate before being allowed another shot at demonstrating their mastery. Reassessing shouldn’t be a “free pass.” I think I wrote previously about how I deal with this. They have to send me a form email.
When I hit upon this idea, I was worried that students wouldn’t take it seriously — and they would lie about what they did to remediate just to take the reassessment. I am sure that a few did, but my gut feeling, based on the responses I got, was that students were being forthright about what they had done. (Many were very specific in their emails.) What I found interesting was less how they remediated (many met with a study buddy, met with me, or redid problems) and more how they were able (or in some cases, not able) to articulate what went wrong. Many students interpreted “The reasons I didn’t do well on the skill are…” to mean “what mathematically didn’t you understand, that you now understand?”
Two examples of student responses:
I also tried to be really clear with students when their email was not up to snuff, saying things like:
… Also, you cannot say you are going to do something to remediate the skill. You can only say things you have already done. You also need to be more specific. In the future, I won’t accept “I went over the assessment” when you have more that you need to have done. Please talk with me if you have any questions about what is expected to reassess.
Most importantly, though, I want to remind you that I’m always here to meet to help you, so hit me up for help.
1) Why specifically don’t you think you had a firm understanding of the material? What didn’t you do that prevented you from having a firm grasp of the material? The point is to be honest here, so that you can learn from your actions. If you didn’t study, say that. If you just looked over problems, but didn’t practice them, say that. Whatever.
2) What specifically about skills 49, 51, and 52 did you get wrong? What were you doing incorrectly for EACH one of them?
Overall I felt like the email-to-apply-for-a-reassessment was good. It’s worth considering if you don’t know how to deal with the bureaucracy of ensuring remediation and setting up reassessments.
I do think I need to be more particular early on in what is acceptable and what isn’t, in terms of an email. I went over it in class, but just once, and that clearly wasn’t enough. As I write this, I think I should also call sending that email “applying for a reassessment” because I think by the end, students were taking it for granted that they’d be approved. Many were.