Teachers Should Consider Excusing Unannounced Assessments

Each final term grade consists of many assessments. Often, people seem to look past all the hard work that goes into getting that final number. Countless hours of homework and studying, with pressure from oneself, parents or others adds to it all. There are often days when all a student wants to do is close his or her Chromebook, shove away his or her materials and break a couple of pencils. Taking a day off from homework as a break is completely normal. However, if one is unprepared the next day, he or she must face the consequences of a bad grade, especially if the assessment was unannounced. Pop quizzes are very common at Walpole High School, so teachers should consider excusing the lowest unannounced assessment grade. 

In many classes, teachers hand out unannounced assessments at the beginning or end of class to test the class’s ability to understand the current material. This is a completely fair and totally logical way to get a grasp of which students have retained the information pretty well and which students have not. In some ways, the teacher may also use pop quizzes to figure out what needs to be extended or have more depth in the following lessons. However, pop quizzes are not an accurate depiction of academic strength. 

Teachers should consider excusing the lowest grade that students receive on unannounced assessments that term. Although it will only change the grade a point or two, it could keep someone on high honor or honor roll, or boost student confidence and decrease self doubt. 

Although some students may use this as a cushion to perform poorly without caring because the points may eventually not matter, this is false. The student will only have one unexcused grade, not multiple, so this will decrease laziness and boost motivation. 

Smaller assignments that come without warning are not proof that the student does not know the material, especially if they demonstrate they know the content by scoring high on an announced quiz or test later. However, many students get quickly discouraged if the grade they see in X2 is not reflecting the amount of effort and work they are putting in. It is easy to get into the mindset that one’s grade is not going to change because the first grade, usually an unannounced assignment, is low. Just because a student has one off day in a term of roughly 45, it should not be a reflection of a student’s abilities in the longer term. Students may find that excusing the lowest grade would bring them peace and help them work harder the next time around. 

Teachers should be encouraged to excuse the lowest grade unannounced assignment or pop quiz, reinstating student confidence at the end of the term.