Mulligans

A mulligan in golf is an extra stroke allowed after a poor shot that isn’t reflected on the scorecard. A mulligan is another name for a redo, retake or do-over. If you’ve ever golfed with me, you know that I have benefited from a mulligan or two (or more). Off of the golf course, I have also benefited from a redo or retake before. One situation that comes to mind is when I got my real estate license in 2005. In order to get my license, I had to pass a test consisting of two different sections. Unfortunately, I failed the law portion of the exam, so I was unable to get my license at the time. Even though I didn’t get my license that day, I was able to go back and study for the law portion of the exam and retake that section without penalty.

Doesn’t everyone deserve a second chance? I was given a second chance on my real estate exam. I know several teachers who retook their Praxis exam to become an educator. Students are able to take the SAT more than once in order to get a better score. So, why don’t we allow students to redo assignments or retake assessments in class? If something is important enough to teach, isn’t it important enough to ensure students learn?

The debate about redos and retakes is ongoing in education and one that doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. If you want to learn more about redos and retakes, I have provided several resources for you to peruse at your leisure.

LSAT. MCAT. Praxis. SAT. Bar exam. CPA exam. Driver’s licensure. Pilot’s licensure. Auto mechanic certification exam. Every one of these assessments reflects the adult-level, working-world responsibilities our students will one day face. Many of them are high stakes: People’s lives depend on these tests’ validity as accurate measures of individual competence. All of them can be redone over and over for full credit. Lawyers who finally pass the bar exam on their second or third attempt are not limited to practicing law only on Tuesdays or only under watchful eye of a seasoned partner for the duration of their careers. If an assessment of competence is valid, achieving its passing scores grants the assessed individual full rights and privileges thereof. (Wormeli, 2011)

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