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Kids and "Do Overs" in School
by GLWerth
January 16, 2013 at 10:30 AM

So, I have a sixth grade son.

About two weeks before the winter break, he started a project. The kids all knew that it would be a major portion of their grade for social studies/history.

They could choose to work in groups or solo. My son chose solo, because, he told me, last group project ended with him doing the whole thing anyway, so it was easier to just work on his own.

They had class time for the project, but were expected to work on their own time as well and they had five weeks to do it, though ten days of this was over the break.

Yesterday, we got a note home. It had Conrad's score 73 of 75 points for the report and 23 of 25 for the oral presentation, total 96 points out of 100 possible. 

I talked to him about how he could have improved, but then I saw the note on top, which I had to sign and send back. 

It said that the teacher is allowing the kids who didn't do well to redo their reports to get their grades up. I saw the teacher at the grocery store later in the evening and asked about it. Conrad was only one of 5 kids (out of two classes of 29 kids) who actually put forth the effort to do research and complete the project acceptably. 

So, do you think that a do over of this is appropriate? Or should the kids learn from their mistake? 

I'm torn and I know I might feel differently if my child had not done well, but I also make sure he works on his school work and puts forth a decent effort to do well. This particular son, doesn't need much pushing, but I also make sure second son (the one who tries to do the very least he can to get by) does his work as well. 

So, again, for those of you who have made it this far: 

If the majority of a class fails a project, paper, test, etc. should there be a chance given for the kids to get a better grade, or should they learn from their experience and do better next time?  


  • PamR
    by PamR
    January 16, 2013 at 4:42 PM

    Congrats on your smart boy!

    Yes, my kids have had opportunities for do-overs.  I'm okay with it, as long as it is able to be used to help them see what they did wrong in the first place and learn from it.

  • IntactivistMama
    January 16, 2013 at 4:57 PM
    I find I am more bothered, OP, that you think your kid should have done better than 96/100. What's wrong with that score?
  • candlegal
    January 16, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    I think one of the reasons schools do so many do overs is if they didn't their districts would not get paid because of all the kids that flunk the first time.  So they let them do it until they can get paid.

  • GLWerth
    by GLWerth
    January 16, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    I think he did a great job, especially since I purposefully did not proofread his paper this year and did not help in any way, except for fixing a printer issue. It was all him.

    We went over the notes the teacher made on the evaluation sheet. The teacher had suggested he could have included some information about daily life and occupation of ancient Sumerians, so we looked that up.

    In the written portion, he had some things capitalized that shouldn't have been, so we went over those rules, briefly.

    I think he did a fine job, but there's nothing wrong with going over the evaluation. The problems were minor, but now he understands where his few mistakes were. In the future, it will help him remember not to make those same mistakes (the writing ones in particular) and he enjoyed learning more about daily life in the ancient world.

    Quoting IntactivistMama:

    I find I am more bothered, OP, that you think your kid should have done better than 96/100. What's wrong with that score?

  • prettymama72106
    January 16, 2013 at 5:26 PM
    Poor grades reflect on the teacher whether they should or not so that is why they give do overs. The sad thing is the parents who would demand redos are the ones who aren't involved. Now I had a teacher who if you failed a test and it was highly unusual for you to do so at end of quarter if that grade caused you to say get a b instead of an a she would drop that grade so you would get the a but you had to be a good student for that to happen you couldn't do poorly all the time.
  • booklover74
    January 16, 2013 at 5:41 PM

    In general I don't think do overs should be given, much less common place. Kid s hould be expected to give thier best the first time. The project concept was not new to these children and they had clear time guidlines to work within. If they failed to do the project then they should fail at the project.

    If kids are constantly given the chance to do things over when they fail to do thier best the first time around then they will sink down to the standard of never doing thier best the first time. Why should they when they can just work on it again?

    The do over thing particularly grated my nerves when my DD was in high school. She never really had do overs with school work, there was some other flexibility but as a rule she was expected to do her work, completely and to her best ability the first time around. She starts attending public high school and every damn class is giving do overs, pushing of test and project dates because the majority of the class didn't tuen in classwork to be ready for the test or project. Seriously kids would just not turn in classwork or turn in a blank sheet to get a 0 and then get an automatic do over, usually with full credit! The kids expected it. They had no concept of taking responsibilty for not doing your work, concequences or time management. Each class had a syllabus with dates for chapters, papers, test, projects and such assigned and do. I would ask DD if she was studying for a test or how a paper was going and such and she would tell me it had been post poned a week or more because so many people didn't turn in assignments or failed a quiz and were being given a do over. Some of these were honors and AP classes as well.

    I asked several teachers about it and basically they felt they had to offer the do overs. The kids came into high school expecting it and when they didn't offer them parents raised hell, claiming thier kids were being punished and it was unfair for them to have to take a bad score on something the first time it was turned in. That answer mad me mad at both the teachers and the other parents. The teachers should put thier foot down (and administrations should  back them rather than cowering to irrational parental demands) because it's high school for pete sake, the kids will be in the adult world without  do overs in just a few years. College instructors are certainly not famous for do overs or flexible deadlines. Parents need to stop micromanaging thier childrens lives, both failures and succeses. Let them fail so they can learn to succeed. Let them be young adults and learn to accept concequences and responsibility. Your kids are going to be 18 and wonder why they don't get a do over for not showing up to work or bombing a final in college and they'll want you to fight that battle too. Some of DDs friends actually had this happen post highschool, and turned right to mom and dad expecting them to handle it like they always had.

    If an entire class fails a quiz, test or project but they actually took the test or put effort into the project, then it's probably time to go over all the materials again as a class because clearly something was missed. beyond the early grades when you are not only learning material but also learning how to follow directions, absorb materials, follow a time line and ask questions when you don't understand a do over is not necissary though. The material may have been missed because the students thought it was unimportant or because of the way it was presented, it is a live and learn lesson and you go on and do things a bit differntly.

    Sure on a case by case basis do overs might be a good idea but nt as a general rule because it sets kids up for a standard that will later fail them rather than help them.

    *wanted to edit to make a point clearer. If the majority of the class is continuing to do badly, failing, getting poor grades on  subjects, projects, quizes tests or assignments then it is time to complain to the teache ron behalf of your child and all of them because that isn't an occasion communication error or teaching style that didn't work out or students that simply thought it wasn't important to try, thats more than likely a continuation of a teaching style or expectations that need to be addressed. In that kind of case do overs for the whole class just might be in order for several things.

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