Student Well-Being Opinion

Students Need Multiple Opportunities for Learning

By Starr Sackstein — February 16, 2016 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Among the challenges associated with getting rid grades and mastery learning is the idea of redos.

Some folks say that students shouldn’t be able to redo work as it doesn’t adequately show what students know and can do and others say that students need multiple opportunities to learn.

Every person deserves a do-over in the learning process. It is a valuable chance to evaluate what was initially understood and what needs further exploration. By allowing students to work on the same task for longer after feedback is provided, we are offering an essential chance to approach the learning from a different angle.

The more time we give to the task, the better equipped the students will be when the situation arises somewhere else and they are asked to apply the initial learning in a new situation.

And that’s the goal of learning, right? To get students to really understand the skills and content we teach them so that they can apply it and synthesize in different situations without our help moving forward.

Very few human beings get what they need from a learning experience the very first time they try. Depending on the experience we are providing students with, the depth of learning can vary. Tests and other “one and done” situations are never going to get the best out of students particularly because of the nature of time and memorization.

When we move to more formative tasks and learning opportunities, multiple chances for growth are built into the process. Students are naturally more collaborative and teachers are involved and watching the process. They work through problems in class over a period of time and the teacher can observe, answer questions, pose new questions and offer specific feedback at the time it is needed and not just after.

The traditional way of learning sets students up and not in a good way. We need to start considering what we want the kids to take away from school and do everything in our power to help them be successful in the pursuit of that.

Here are some take aways you can share with folks at your school when they don’t want to give a redo:

  • First we need to make sure our tasks are higher level tasks or redos will just be chasing points. We need to de-emphasize point accumulation and focus on skill building and content mastery.
  • Redos shouldn’t be for a higher grade, but for depth of understanding.
  • No two students learn at the same pace or in the same time, so we need to allot for these variables in how we teach without penalizing students who take longer or rewarding students who do it faster.
  • The goal is always for as many students as possible to achieve mastery of a certain skill set and content knowledge, they have a year or more to achieve that, so we must offer them multiple opportunities to practice and master as they go.
  • Collaboration is an excellent way of helping students become more independent and innovative as they can work together to come up with new ideas while learning other social emotional skills like listening and compromising while they work.
  • Formative learning experiences allow for on-going growth and readjustment that help solidify mastery. They also offer feedback opportunities.
  • We need to remove the justice mindset that forces us to want to penalize kids who don’t comply with our rules and directions. Make sure to provide an opportunity for student input and really look at the what the students are sharing. What they come up with may be more meaningful than what we have.

Too often in education, those in charge forget what the learning is all about it. It isn’t about compliance or mere task completion but a development of a skill set and depth of understanding that continues to be built upon and adjusted for mastery. We must, it is our obligation, to provide students with the richest learning experiences that we can and allow them to take away from each one what they need.

In what ways can you provide students multiple opportunties to focus on actual learning and de-emphasize the value of the points they can accumulate? Please share

The opinions expressed in Work in Progress are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
What’s Next for Teaching and Learning? Key Trends for the New School Year
The past 18 months changed the face of education forever, leaving teachers, students, and families to adapt to unprecedented challenges in teaching and learning. As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Student Well-Being Opinion Educators, Be Future-Ready, But Don’t Ignore the Present
Being ready for what lies ahead is important, but we also need to gain a better understanding of the here and now.
5 min read
shutterstock 226918177
Student Well-Being Opinion How to Prioritize Student Well-Being This Year
Use the Student Thriving Index to find out where your kids stand. Because you cannot manage what you cannot measure.
2 min read
Images shows a stylized artistic landscape with soothing colors.
Student Well-Being Spotlight Spotlight on Supporting Teachers & Students
In this Spotlight, evaluate your district and what supports your schools offer, assess attendance policies to avoid burnout, and more
Student Well-Being What the Research Says Child Hospitalizations Spike Under Delta, Particularly in Low-Vaccination States
Nationwide, the number of children and teens hospitalized due to COVID-19 has ballooned nearly tenfold since midsummer, new CDC data show.
2 min read
hopital stethescope 1222194507
Aleksandr Titov/iStock/Getty