New Retake Policy benefits students and teachers

A new year brings even more changes to the Madison testing retake policy.


Hannah Kase, Online Editor-in-Chief

With the new school year well underway, there have been some changes in the testing policy at Madison such as the elimination of midterms and more final exam exemptions. These modifications are part of an effort to reduce the number of traditional assessments that students take during the school year. For the math department, this means a simpler way to retake tests. Rather than having individual retakes for each test, all students will take one cumulative test at the end of each quarter. The grade for the quarter test will replace any and all lower test grades from that quarter.

In past years, students have had the opportunity to retake only one test per quarter in math, which limited them to only remastering one unit. This new policy allows students to show a full understanding of all of the units covered within each quarter.

“[The math teachers] didn’t want students to be stuck on previous units,” math teacher Bianca Gilbert said. “Now we can tell them not to worry about [the previous unit], and to focus on the next unit until we review all material at the end of the quarter.”

Another element of the new retake policy is that students can choose to have the average of their four quarter tests replace a final exam grade.

“I’m happy that I won’t have to stress about a final at the end of the year if I do well on the quarter tests,” Thomas MacCall (’18) said.

According to Gilbert, teachers are hoping that this will give students an incentive to work hard during the year so that they do not have to take a final exam. While this policy benefits students, it also helps the math teachers.

“[The quarter tests] will be during class,” math teacher Jennifer DeLaet said. “[The math teachers] won’t have to stay for an hour and a half after school to proctor a retake and figure out where to put 95 students.”

Although the new retake policy eliminates the need to study for multiple math tests at one time, it will require all students to review and take an additional test at the end of each quarter. In Gilbert’s opinion, this is a benefit of the new policy because more information will stay fresh in students’ minds and they will not have to cram as much before the SOL and final exam.

On the other hand, some students are not as enthusiastic.

“I think [the new policy] will require more work because students will have to be more on top of their work and remember everything from the whole quarter,” Isabel Bufton (’17) said.

This policy is specific to the math department, but there have been major changes overall in regards to testing this year. There will be no midterm exams, and any student who earns an A- or above all four quarters in any given class will be exempt from the final exam in that class so long as that class has a traditional final. The math department adapted both of these policy changes, but made modifications to account for the unique needs of math students and teachers.

Math is unique in that it is cumulative, so it makes sense for the department to have a slightly different policy for retaking tests. Information in math from the beginning of the school year will still be relevant on fourth quarter tests; all of the content builds on itself, which is why it will help students to have the information reinforced throughout the year.
“I’m excited for the change because I’m hoping it will help with the spiral back factor of math,” said Gilbert.