Exams – Retry for Extra Credit 

We recently announced the Exam Recovery Mode, a way in Acellus for students who fail an exam to automatically have another chance to review the material and retake the exam. However, there are many students who actually pass an exam yet feel they have not done their best and would like another try. There is actually a lot to be learned from going back over the questions missed and filling in the holes.

Acellus now gives students this option in “Exams.” When students complete an Exam, they can choose to ‘Continue,’ which moves them ahead in the course, leaving their grade as it is, or they can choose ‘Try Again for Extra Credit.’ If students choose to try again, they are first shown the problems they missed on the Exam and given addition instruction as needed. They are then given a chance to retake the Exam in its entirety.

While on the surface this may seem like a giveaway — letting students try again and again for a better score — it looks a little different if we take a step back. Students who don’t care about their scores will never take advantage of this option. At the same time, meticulous students who give special attention to their grades will seize the opportunity and work to raise their scores as high as they can. Interestingly, something like a “lower than desired” exam score can affect students in more ways that just lowering their overall grades.  If students have a low exam score and they can’t do anything about it, how likely are they to continue making the effort?  With this perspective, the important issue becomes not just that students can improve their scores, but that students can feel like they are succeeding.

Besides the motivation of this approach, it is also scientifically proven that students learn better when they are shown what they did wrong, with the result being they have errors in their understanding corrected and difficult concepts reinforced. By re-teaching material and then allowing students to try again, Acellus sparks their ‘I can do it’ attitude. We also find that giving students greater control over their learning by letting them choose when they are “finished” with an Exam increases their motivation, letting them work as long or as short as they want. If students are willing to do extra work, they deserve extra credit.

Grades aside, two important core outcomes educators are looking to address in teaching are 1) student morale and, 2) academic achievement. When students review concepts and retake exams, we achieve both these objectives. Students feel like they are succeeding, and at the same time, they are increasing their knowledge of academic material.

This new feature is now live and ready for use — enjoy!

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