Retake policy embraces growth mindset

Keegan Bushey

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Mater Dei Catholic High School has implemented The Crusader Test Retake Policy over the last 4-5 weeks and in that time 40-50 students have taken advantage of it.

The Crusader Test Retake Policy has offered students the chance to improve their test or essay scores and overall class grade by allowing another opportunity to retake a test after they’ve gone to school sponsored tutoring for at least three hours of tutoring.

School sponsored tutoring includes tutoring after school the library with Mr. Rachlin, before school with Ms. Peck in room Lima 07 or with their classroom teacher. The tutoring calendar is uploaded monthly and can be seen online

Students need to complete the Mater Dei Assessment Retake form which requires signatures from the tutor and classroom teacher.  Once complete, students can arrange to take tests after school in the library with Mrs. Hickman or with their teacher.

Tutoring has been offered at Mater Dei for the past five years, but the program has gone through a few changes  including the introduction of before school tutoring and the Cupertino program, and the re-take policy is yet another change meant to benefit students.

In tutoring, students can review past material, learn new strategies to remember information and receive help on current homework. Working with tutors and other students allows them to grasp the concepts of the subject better and to feel more confident when retaking a test.

Mrs. Ackman, the Learning Director at Mater Dei Catholic, said, “I’ve noticed that when students feel like they have the opportunity to improve their grade by retaking a test, they are often more motivated and willing to revise their work which means they are more engaged in class.  Improving one grade builds confidence in ability and can often lead to the desire to improve another class’s grade.” One way the tutoring and test retakes have impacted the teachers is by having multiple students’ grades increasing in the class and helping them comprehend the material better.

Junior Rayshawn Holscher has attended tutoring and taken the opportunity to retake a test he did poorly on. He explains, “Going to tutoring really helped me get my grade from a 56% to an 86%.”

Although the tutoring has helped this student to do better on this test, it is the student’s job to take the skills that they have learned from tutoring and apply it to everything in that class.

Mrs. Ackman, “the foundation of tutoring explains that by relearning and reviewing material covered in class, students will improve their knowledge and by extension, their performance on tests.  If a student does not regularly attend tutoring, study or review class material, the effectiveness of tutoring may not be as noticeable. Students have to truly participate in the learning process to see long term results! ”

Some students find the opportunity to learn things a new way from someone who is not their teacher to be an advantage, but there is some caution to be had. Some teachers, like Mrs. Nerat, prefer students come to their teacher for help to ensure that they understand course material and are prepared for further assessments.

Mrs. Nerat, a Science teacher at Mater Dei Catholic High School, shares  “I think the test retake could be a good thing if the student utilizes it and goes to the tutoring and is able to go and get the necessary help that they need…for the Science Department the Test Retakes, as far as the tutoring, do not work well.  I think the students would be better equipped if they went to their individual teachers to get help so that the student can be helped to master the particular lesson or chapter that they didn’t get the first time.”

The Crusader Test Retake can be a powerful tool, not only for improving grades, but for increasing mastery of a subject matter.  In the end, the many benefits of the test retake make students, and their grades, stronger.

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