Growing minds with a re-do policy?

September 3, 2010 at 4:07 PM 2 comments

Just as I was wondering about how to make Carol Dweck’s growth mindset real through grading policy, Alfie Kohn publishes “How to Create Non-Readers“. It’s an invigorating tweak on the nose for business as usual and not just in the English classroom.

I work in a fairly traditional school setting where a ‘no grade’ policy would buck the culture too hard. But how about letting kids re-do assignments they didn’t get the first time, for full credit? That way, it rewards trying and persistence – key to the growth mindset. So “Uh, I didn’t get it…” is no longer an excuse.

It’s not scott-free, because they have to re-do the WHOLE thing, not just make a correction, so it’s a nuisance for them, which motivates them to pay closer attention or get some extra help before handing work in next time. 

A poor grade tells me who needs some specific coaching and the student sees a purpose to that coaching. Otherwise, they are like “Oh, I’m an idiot, and there’s nothing I can do about that work anyway. La, la, la, speak to the hand.” But if they can do it over, and actually do, I get to congratulate them on persistence when they hand in the improved version. Some kids end up doing it twice or even three times.

So far, it’s going well. I have quite a few re-dos on the first assignments to come in this school year, as they are getting used to my expectations. And here’s the thing, I can have higher expectations because it’s not a big stressful deal for them. They can always… re-do!

For assessments, I let them re-do up to a B, because there are times when we need to perform in the real world and elsewhere in the school system. A little edge where they can climb back up most of the way. Maybe that’s why we are er, edgercaters. Climbing analogies, my favorite.

Happy THREE day weekend!


Entry filed under: Assessment and grading, Class Management, Creativity, Critical Thinking, Curiosity. Tags: , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sue Boudreau  |  September 7, 2010 at 5:17 PM

    Gave their first big lab + graph back today and took the “growth mindset” with redos out for a spin. Literally as was rolling from table to table on my desk chair. Nice to be at their level, much more friendly and conversational. Easier to give feedback nicely. Lots of feedback to give.

    They did not do a perfect job first time out. Imagine. Frustrating by end of the day BUT much better than being angry with them for ‘failing’ and me at ‘failing’ to teach some stuff/make my expectations clear.

    Redos allow me to expect the best of them and help them get there. Like Oscar Wilde said “Those who expect the best very often get it.” So see, I’m doing them a FAVOR with the choice of more work 🙂

    It’s working overall. Note to self to SCHEDULE time to meet with each group, rest of ’em have to have something productive to do. Oops. Redo.


  • […] redo policy is central to nurturing Carol Dweck’s ‘growth mind set’. It’s slowly […]



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