Reverse Retake Exam Policy During COVID Lockdown

Reverse Retake Exam Policy During COVID Lockdown

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Greg Carkhuff started this petition to Loudoun county school board members

Changed Policy

Loudoun County School Board has recently changed the policy on retake exams so that the max grade achievable went from a 100% to an 80%.  Especially during these COVID lockdown periods and 100% online learning this policy should be reversed.

Unfair Playing Field

This policy creates an unfair playing field for our students.  It puts our students at a severe disadvantage when our students apply for college or scholarship money and are competing against students from around the country who can receive a 100% on their retakes.

Detrimental to the Health, Mental Well-Being During these Covid Lockdowns

This policy increases the stress on the students that are already facing extreme stress due to Covid lockdowns and 100% virtual learning in many cases.  Suicides are up, stress is up and grades have plummeted.  This policy during these times will only result in further declining grades and poor mental and physical health issues.

Allowing Retakes Means More Accountability for Students

  • ·        They are accountable for the material and don’t get an easy out
  • ·        Students stay motivated.  Why would they care about the material if they couldn’t get better at it or recover from a one bad grade?
  • ·        There is actually less pressure on the teacher because students can improve their learning and mastery and the pressure becomes more on the learner than on the teacher.  If the student fails to avail themselves of this privilege then the parents are mad at the student and not the teacher.
  • ·        No student wants to go through the process of relearning the material in order to take a retest.  If structured properly, a good retake policy should also provide a lesson in accountability to the student.
  • ·        If students have to earn the privilege of a retake and it is documented then all the responsibility falls clearly on the student.

What Are We Saying if We Penalize Students on Retakes

  • ·        The material was only temporarily important
  • ·        Learning is over for this concept and it has no bearing on the future
  • ·        You can relearn the material on your own but we will penalize you for doing it
  • ·        We do not care as much what you know now, only what you knew on test date
  • ·        It is not necessary for you to learn this material because you will never use it again
  • ·        One bad grade can ruin your semester even if you are a good student and we are okay with that

Students Must Earn a Retake

A retake is a privilege. Students should have to earn the right for a retake.  Students who do not complete their work or who do not put in the effort into their retake attempt do not deserve that privilege and are only wasting their time, their parents time and their teachers’ time. A retake is for those students who care about their learning and their grades.  Students must earn the privilege of taking a retake. 

Opportunity for Everyone to Improve

One policy might be to offer extra credit to students who did extremely well to tutor students who did poorly.  This is a great learning experience for the tutor, helps the student who needs help and reduces the need for outside tutors or extra teacher help.  It also helps the student who needs help to see how other students prepare for exams.

What are the Goals of School?

If one of the goals of school is for our students to learn, then who has learned the material better – the student who got an 80% on the first exam or the student who received a 60% and then studied really hard for the retake and received a 100% on the retake exam? This policy disincentives students to take a retake exam and better learn the material. 

If one of the goals of school is to help our students to go to college and to get scholarship money to help pay for college, then why would we penalize them compared to other students around the country?

This Policy Disproportionately Effects Disadvantaged Students

This policy disproportionately harms students from lower income families and students who might have learning, mental or health issues.  Not every student is naturally blessed with ease of learning, not every student is blessed with parents that can afford tutors if they fall behind, not every student is blessed with parents who have the time to stay on top of their kids and help them so that they do not fall behind.  Many students come from a single parent family or from a family where both parents work full time.  Many students have to work part time while going to school.  Let’s face it, it is not a level playing field and this policy hurts the have nots much more than the haves.

Double Standard

Could you imagine if we held the school board and school system to this standard and said that if they make a mistake or miss a deadline then they only receive 80% of their pay until they have correctly finished their project?  People make mistakes and they miss deadlines all the time but we learn that with hard work we can correct those mistakes and achieve our goals. 

Teachers can sit for their teaching exam unlimited times, lawyers can sit for the bar exam unlimited times, medical doctors can sit for their licensing exam 3 times a year, students can take the SATS unlimited times.  Why? Because society is saying that we care more about if you know the material rather than when and how you learned it.  Businesses do not care how many times you took an exam, they just want to know that you know the material.  And if businesses fired or docked the pay of those employees that missed a deadline or made a mistake, there would be no one left working. 

American success is based on the belief that you can fail over and over again and still end up succeeding.  It is one of the things that has made America great.  But apparently not for our students.  Policies for thee but not for me.

A Better Policy: Students Must Earn a Retake

Surely, we can come up with a better policy.  One that teaches the students that there are consequences if you do not get it right the first time but that also does not create an unfair playing field or disincentive students who want to learn to do better. 

Maybe the policy should be that in order to take a make-up exam, the student and parent has to sign a form acknowledging they failed, why they failed and what they will have to do to have the privilege of taking a retake; the student has to complete all past missing homework assignments; and correct all the mistakes on the test they just took.  Maybe even extra homework would be required before having the privilege of taking a retake.  A policy like this would teach kids that the most important thing is that they learn the material, that if they try real hard even if they fail the first time they can succeed and they will learn a lesson that it is easier to do it right the first time.

I am not saying this should be the policy but surely we can come up with a better policy.

 Immediately Suspend This Policy and Eventually Replace

I therefore am writing this petition to overturn this policy.  Especially during these COVID lock down times where students are already struggling with online learning and a host of other COVID related problems, this policy should be temporarily suspended immediately and scheduled for a vote at a later day to replace with a new, better policy.

If you agree that this policy should be suspended immediately and then eventually replaced at a later date please sign this petition and let our school board members know how you feel.  


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