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resubmitting an assignment

Allowing Students To Resubmit or Retest

There is nothing better than getting to the end of a mountainous stack of grading and writing the final mark in my grade book. That joyous moment is usually fleeting when I pass back assignments to students and am inevitably met with a few who are crushed by a poor mark and ask, “What can I do to raise my grade?” After a weekend of grading, the last thing I want to do is add a resubmitted student assignment to my marking pile, but for some reason to just say, “Nothing” never quite seemed like the right answer for me. Over the years of teaching middle and high school English, I’ve developed what I think is a fair system for allowing students to resubmit an assignment.

Keeping Students Accountable

I had always hesitated to let students resubmit assignments for a few reasons:

1. I have the concern that students will rely on the privilege of resubmitting and be less motivated to pass in their best work or study sufficiently the next time around. Of course, I want to make sure students are accountable for their success in my classes.

2. There is a lot to be learned from failure. Students should reflect on the reason for their poor grade. This will help them to improve for their next assignment.

3. I don’t want to mark everything twice.

Although I do still have these hesitations and can completely understand teacher reasoning for not allowing students to redo work, I also personally find it problematic to say no when a student is asking for a way to improve. If a student is willing to put in extra time to develop their knowledge on a concept, shouldn’t that be something I encourage? Because of this (and the mounting pressure from parents, admin, and no-zero policies), I decided to allow students the opportunity to apply for the privilege of resubmitting.

Classroom Management ResourcesApplying to Resubmit

Yes, you read that correctly. My students need to apply to resubmit. If I’m going to take extra time to mark an extra assignment, they’re going to have to work for it. Students fill out an application, and not all requests are granted. In the application process, students must explain the following:

1. Why they should be permitted to resubmit the assignment.

2. What they have done to improve their understanding of the concept.

3. What they will do differently for future assignments/tests.

Students must also attach their original submission along with proof that they have done something to improve their understanding. I give a deadline for the application so that I’m not marking something in January that was due in September. I accept applications up to a week after the original work is passed back. However, you might leave a bigger (or smaller) window of opportunity depending on how things work in your particular classroom/school.

Request to Resubmit an Assignment

The Benefits of this Approach

What I love most about this approach is that only the students who are serious about improving their grade will actually go through with the application. It puts the onus on them.

It is also useful around mid-semester parent-teacher time. In recent years, I’ve had many parents ask if their son or daughter can redo some assignments to bring their grade up. This application allows me to tell the parent that the chance to resubmit is always provided, but that their child, unfortunately, did not take that opportunity. On the other hand, if you are ok with the student resubmitting after longer than a week, you can give the parent the application sheet to give to their child and wait to see if they will take the bait.

I should also note that this is only my own personal practice, and I understand a teacher not allowing students to resubmit an assignment and can appreciate the benefits of that philosophy.

You can grab a Request to Submit Form along with other classroom management resources by clicking the image below:

Classroom Management Bundle

If you are looking for more classroom teaching tips and resources, click here!

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