Second Chance Exam

imageHave you ever heard of a “second chance exam”?  I came across the concept for the first time in an article at Faculty Focus, Revisiting Extra Credit Policies.

Here’s how the author explains it:

The instructor attaches a blank piece of paper to the back of every exam. Students may write on that sheet any exam questions they couldn’t answer or weren’t sure they answered correctly. Students then take this piece of paper with them and look up the correct answers. They can use any resource at their disposal short of asking the instructor. At the start of the next class session, they turn in their set of corrected answers which the instructor re-attaches to their original exam. Both sets of answers are graded. If students missed the question on the exam but answered it correctly on the attached sheet, half the credit lost for the wrong answer is recovered.

I currently have a standing policy in all of my classes that allow students to correct missed problems on a test after it has been graded.  They’ll receive a bonus point on their exam grade for every correctly revised problem.  Instead of a flat bonus, this gives the most reward to students who put in the most work in the corrections. 

I used to do a flat 10 point curve for corrections.  At one point I was having students hand a test notebook at the end of the term.  The notebook contained corrected versions of their tests and they were rewarded with 3 bonus points on the their final average.

I’m considering trying this new approach, the “second chance exam” because it requires students to assess what they know, put in the work of correcting a problem and it also reduces the amount of time it takes to get a final grade into the grade book.  Right now, students take a test, then get it back the next class, then turn in corrections after that, and then I eventually return their corrections.  This new way, I collect the second chance exam the next class after the exam and then return the fully graded exam after that.

Of course, a sizeable percentage of fellow faculty would probably argue that extra credit only encourages laziness and procrastination on the part of the students but if the opportunities can be manipulated into a learning experience, isn’t that better than not learning at all?


2 thoughts on “Second Chance Exam

  1. I have students correct the questions they didn’t get full credit on AND write a statement showing better understanding. I like your idea for the problems they realize they don’t understand, but if they’re consistently screwing something up and don’t notice, how does your system help them correct that?


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