Site icon Laura Randazzo – Solutions for the Secondary Classroom

Am I Wrong?

Today’s post is a question I received yesterday from a customer over at my shop.

Hello Laura,
I recently gave my students the one-question-quizzer style of quiz (Note to reader – You can learn more about this method here:, and usually this method seems to work well. Unfortunately, during one of the quizzers, I had a student answer the question incorrectly though he claimed to have read the story.

He is a good student and he seems to have misread the question, but he was very frustrated with the grading method of the quiz because he felt if he had lied he would have received more points. To him, it felt like The Crucible (which we had read last quarter). I’m wondering what you would do if this situation occurred for you. I have informed him I will not change the grade because he answered incorrectly, and though part of the purpose of the quizzers is to show me they’ve read the stories, the other purpose is to show comprehension and correct answers.
– R.

Hey R.,
Thanks so much for checking in with me. Sorry the quizzers were a source of crunchiness between you and your student, but this does open an opportunity to have a great discussion with the kid.

While I can appreciate the need for us to apply classroom policies evenly, I also know that we’re all human and all need different things to be successful. Standing in your shoes, I’d meet with the student privately to discuss the matter, maybe have him stop by during lunch or pull him out of a class for a few minutes during your next prep period.

You mentioned that he’s generally a good student and that it is possible he misread the question. I’d chat with him about the chapter. Can he answer other questions about what happened? If so, I’d update the grade. Quizzers are worth only 3 pts. in my classroom, so it’s really not going to make a difference by the end of the term; plus, I’m getting pretty mellow in my aging years.

If, though, you feel like he’s being unreasonable or trying to put you in a corner, you could let him know the grade will stand, but you also promise to look at his end-of-term final grade in June and if those three little points are the difference between a step-up in a letter grade, you’ll make the adjustment then. I’ve offered this to a few students over the years and it goes a long way toward easing their fears. There’s a lot of pressure on some of our kids, and I understand why they (and usually their parents) are tightly wound about grades. In the end, though, those handful of points have never made a difference in a student’s final grade.

Above all, let your student know he and this situation are sitting on your heart. That’ll go a long way toward keeping him engaged in your class, no matter what you decide to do.

Hope this is helpful,

This question rolled around my head so much I decided to expand my answer into a YouTube video:

Okay, everyone, throw in your two cents. Would you give this kid a do-over? Am I being too soft? Let me know your thoughts below and keep on teachin’.

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