Growing minds with a re-do policy?
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!