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When I give my students the opportunity to rewrite a test, is it recommended to use the best
grade between the two, the most current grade, or to take the average between the two.




Definitely the most current grade.




How do I justify this to students and parents without coming across as being mean or unfair.
What is the rationale?

The Grade Doctor's


No student should get a reassessment without having done correctives so they should always do better on the second attempt. Also it is the way the world works, e.g., if you fail your driving test the first time it is how you do the next time that counts.

Matt Slocomb's


...It isn't always the way the world works. To use some obvious hyperbole, if I cheat on my
spouse I will not get to "redo" the fidelity "test". If I behave in an unethical manner at work, I
may get fired on the spot. This is, in part, why I believe that the use of zeros should be left in
as an option for teachers to use.

The Grade Doctor's


Matt you are giving examples of adult behavior. In schools we are dealing with children and our job as teachers is to educate not punish. I fully accept that the consequences should be more severe for high school seniors than for freshmen but we should never use zeros. The consequences for academic dishonesty should be in the "Code of Conduct" AND 'do it again honestly.' I believe the double consequence very clearly sends the message that academic dishonesty is reprehensible and unacceptable.

Matt Slocomb's


"Punishment" should be part of our job description though, at least in some sense. You
"punish" when you take away students time by making them do the assignment over.
Douglas Reeves actually argues for automatic same day detention for students until they
finish the work they are missing in one of his clips on Youtube. Sure sounds like
punishment to me.

The other thing you have to ask is what is your justification for punishment. We are so
focused now on the immediacy of individual kids in education that we neglect the rest of
the kids or the long term ramifications. So, justifications for punishment like deterrence,
learning and societal protection are rarely considered. We are just concerned about
whether the kid will pass this one class. Academic deterents to cheating and not doing
work in part model to students what the real world is like.

To be clear, I am not arguing for automatic zeros in all instances. I simply think they
should be an option left on the table that if clearly communicate to students should be
allowed. Zeros on individual assignments in specific settings help students to learn the
corresponding consequences of those things in the adult world, where the implications are
failing a course, getting kicked out of a program, getting sued for copyright
infringement/plagarism, or getting arrested for fraud.

The Grade Doctor's


Matt, I agree with you that there need to be consequences for inappropriate behavior and that those consequences involve 'punishment.' I just believe that zeros are wrong in all circumstances, and that a combination of a behavioral consequence (which can be as soft or as hard as you think is necessary/appropriate) and the assessment consequence - do it again honestly is sufficient to get across the message that academic dishonesty is unacceptable in K-12, in college, and in the world outside school.