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Why Students Should Be Allowed to Re-Do Their Work

Do you believe in second chances?

We consistently grade students on their performance through assignments and exams. But when students struggle to understand the material or make mistakes, it can negatively impact their grades. 

Are we helping them learn, or are we just punishing them for not living up to expectations? Allowing students to redo their work can be incredibly beneficial in these cases. Let's explore the pros and cons of allowing students to redo their work.

The Pros of Re-Dos

Reinforcement of Learning

Allowing students to re-do their work reinforces their learning. When students can correct their mistakes and understand the material better, they are more likely to retain that knowledge long-term. It’s a chance to practice the material again, strengthening the concepts.

Re-doing work can also help students identify where they went wrong and how they can improve. By reviewing their mistakes and understanding what they did incorrectly, students can learn from their errors and develop better study habits. This can lead to improved performance on future assignments and exams, as well as a greater sense of confidence in their abilities.

Encourages Responsibility and Accountability

When students are allowed to improve their grades by re-doing their work, they are forced to take ownership of their mistakes and work to correct them. They learn responsibility and accountability. This promotes a sense of responsibility as students learn to take responsibility for their actions and work to correct their mistakes.

Let your students be accountable for their own learning. By allowing them to correct their mistakes, they are empowered to take an active role in their education. This can lead to greater engagement with the material and a more positive attitude toward learning.

Promotes a Growth Mindset

Do-overs promote a growth mindset. A growth mindset is the belief that intelligence and abilities can be developed over time through hard work and dedication. 

When students are allowed to re-do their work, they are encouraged to believe they can improve and develop their skills regardless of their first attempts. This can be incredibly motivating for students, as it shows them that their efforts can pay off and that they can improve. 

By promoting a growth mindset, teachers can help students overcome the fear of failure and develop a more positive attitude toward learning, increasing overall confidence.

The Cons of Re-Dos

Teaches the Wrong Lesson

Some teachers argue that allowing students to re-do work teaches the wrong lesson about consequences. If students know they can always redo work, they may not put forth their best effort the first time.

In contrast, aren’t students who take advantage of re-do work showing dedication to their education? 

Time Constraints

Another argument against allowing students to redo work is that it can be time-consuming for teachers. And this is an issue we can’t ignore. 

With large class sizes and heavy workloads, teachers may not have the time or resources to allow students to redo assignments, especially if students are requesting re-dos on a regular basis.

This is where boundaries come in. You may only allow students to re-do their work if they scored a C or below. Developing a threshold for re-do work can help to lessen your load of grading repeat assignments.

Unfair Advantage

Some educators may argue that allowing some students to redo work gives them an unfair advantage over others who do not have the same opportunity. This can create an imbalance in the classroom and may not be equitable for all students.

Here’s a solution: if you have time in your classroom, set aside 15-20 minutes a week for students to re-do or correct an assignment. This will allow all students a chance to receive a higher grade.

The Verdict on Re-Doing Work

The benefits of allowing students to redo their work are pretty clear. Reinforcement of learning, accountability, responsibility, and promoting a growth mindset are just a few reasons to give students a second chance.

As educators, we should be giving our students every opportunity to learn and grow. By allowing them to redo their work, we can help them achieve success and develop the skills they need to thrive. So, let's encourage a culture of second chances in our classrooms and help our students reach their full potential.

Written by John Jones
Education World Contributor
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