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The Red and the Blue of Retake Policies

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The Red and the Blue of Retake Policies

Franny Kiles and Franny Kiles

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As everyone has heard thousands of times, Mill Valley is a very liberal community. However, our beliefs may not be so one sided when we apply these progressive views to policies within our school. Take retaking tests as an example. Tam teachers have both progressive and conservative policies on retaking tests. I have been in classes with both types of policies and neither type is obviously better than the other.  

A progressive retake policy is more flexible, providing a variety of ways for students to makeup quizzes and tests that they may have messed up on the first time. The intention of this is to give less fortunate students more opportunities to excel and succeed within school. For the same reason, democrats believe the government should cut taxes for middle class families and raise taxes on people in higher income brackets in order to reach economic equity. A conservative retake policy is more rigid, giving students very few opportunities to makeup assessments. This philosophy is equivalent to the republican belief that everyone should be taxed the same regardless of how much they make. Applying this concept to retakes, students should all have equal opportunities to take a test and retakes should be minimal to nonexistent.

Both ends of the retake spectrum have their benefits and their problems. The progressive retake policy promotes mastery of material and learning by providing more opportunities for students to succeed and makeup their assessments. On the other hand, this system can have negative effects on the students that already did well on the exam the first time. Just as wealthier people often protest tax increases, these students may find the open ended retake system unfair and want more recognition for their own success.

The conservative retake policy accounts for this issue because students do not have so many opportunities to raise their grades. Students are expected to study and succeed on their first try, no matter what their situation is. This system effectively sheds light on the students who are capable of excelling, but without the option of many retakes others may fall through the cracks and become less motivated to learn and succeed.

It is evident that retake policies, whether they are more progressive or more conservative, have their pitfalls. Living in such a liberal area, it may be surprising that the progressive version of the retake system is not perfect. In fact, I find myself more aligned with the conservative policy. I do not think that retakes should be banned all together, but Tam does have a very inflated grading system. Students are able to do well in school without thoroughly learning the material because they are given so many opportunities to raise their grades. Pushing Tam teachers towards more conservative retake policies would benefit students by making them work harder and really learn the subject matter.

The retake policy is an oversimplified metaphor for one distinct difference between democrats and republicans, but it makes the point that political leanings do not have to be so one sided. In terms of retakes, I identify slightly more on the conservative side but I also can relate to the progressive side of the debate. Don’t let the overwhelming amount of democrats at Tam intimidate you; your beliefs don’t have to be so red or so blue.

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The Red and the Blue of Retake Policies