About a third of my principles students do an optional final exam consisting of retakes and make-ups of quizzes. It's usually a mix of the students who need just 1 more point for an "A", and those that need like 30 points just to pass.
This year's behaviors were worthy of preserving for the ages:
- Student is running a D, and didn't retake enough quizzes to have a chance of raising their grade. I had several of those. All were advised to think about retaking more.
- Student needs every point they can get, but didn't pick up the extra credit point for notifying you what quizzes to copy for them. I had over a dozen of those.
- Student took 5 different quizzes, all numbered differently with no overlap. So they put them on 5 different bubble sheets instead of one. This is in spite of having done multiple exams during the semester in which different quizzes went on the same bubble sheet.
- Student must not have approved of the numbers I gave to the questions, so they filled in my bubble sheet from top to bottom in whatever old order they felt like (he did his questions in this order: 41-50 in 1-10, 61-70 in 11-20, then 71-80 in 21-30, then 91-100 in 31-40, then 31-40 in 41-50). Oh, and he had a D too.
- Student retook 2 quizzes from the beginning and end of the semester. They are so far apart that they need to go on different bubble sheets. He put one in the right spot, and didn't bubble in anything at all for the other quiz (but he did turn that second bubble sheet in blank). At least he circled his answers on the question sheet.
- One student got married during the semester, and put her maiden name on one bubble sheet and her married name on the other.
- Student decided not to take the quizzes that she requested (and presumably studied for), but decided to take this other one that no one requested (and which therefore had no copies on hand). Out of 17 chapter quizzes, she wanted the only one that no one had asked for.
- Students requested copies be made, but didn't show up — several of those.
- This one's a doozy. The directions state "This is the 7th opportunity you've had to take this quiz ..." (that I use for assessment). Student asks where the other 7 are. Even worse, he doesn't realize that if it's the 7th, there were 6 rather than 7 given previously.
- Another student skipped enough homeworks to zero out about a third of their grade. He was going to make it up by covering some chapters independently for extra credit. But he had done no work on this by exam day. So he requested copies of the extra quizzes, and then decided in the exam not to do them.
- Student took me for 2 classes. Both have exams on the same day. He requested retakes for the morning but not the afternoon class. Then he skipped the morning exam, showed up for the afternoon exam, and wondered if he could take the morning's quizzes then. Even better, he acted surprised that I didn't have the quiz copies from the morning with me in the afternoon.
- Student had bubbled in answers in the wrong spots on his answer sheet on two previous occasions. Did not respond to two emails from me, or a face-to-face request, to clarify which answers were which. He was surprised on exam day that his (publicly available) quiz scores show zeroes for things he'd taken. He bubbled in answers improperly on two more chapters this time, and has not responded to new emails.
- Student has to take a particular 10 point quiz that can't hurt their grade four times during the semester. This student only shows 3 scores and a zero. He wanted me to look and see whether he 1) only did take it 3 times and needed to take it a fourth time, or 2) had taken it 4 times and gotten 0/10 on one try — but so would not have to take it again (even though it can't hurt his grade).
- Student announces that she thinks she'll be OK to retake a quiz because she's a really good guesser. Her evidence to support this was a high score on a pretest given on the first day of class on which all the students are guessing on almost all questions. I suppose she can be forgiven if she's never learned that the correlation and expected correlation of random events are not always the same.
- Student did not request a quiz be copied for them. So we agreed to borrow one printed for another student. Borrower circled their answers on the question sheet before returning it to the lender. Borrower is running an F. Lender did not notify me until turning in their bubble sheets: I hope the lender was smart enough not to use the proffered information.
I've been using the following exam system for principles for about 13 years now. Students love it because they can miss exams without guilt, and still make them up when they can perform their best. I'm not sure if the students mentioned above realize that quizzes measure performance.
Every chapter I cover has a 10 question quiz.
These are numbered in 10 question blocks: Chapter 2 is 21 to 30, Chapter 3 is 31 to 40 and so on. See the pattern in bold? Some of the students noted above did not, even though they did up to 6 exams with this format.
I cover more than 10 chapters in a semester. Stuff from before the midterm goes on one bubble sheet, and stuff from after the midterm goes on a second one. My question sheets are on two colors of paper: white from before the midterm or pink from after the midterm. All the answers from white question sheets go on one bubble sheet, all the answers from the pink question sheets go on another bubble sheet. See the pattern in the colors? Some of the students noted above did not, even though they did up to 6 exams with this format.
My final is just retaking poor scores from early in the semester to replace them with new (and hopefully better scores), and make-ups. Most students take a shot at a handful of chapters. They get extra credit for letting me know in advance what quizzes I should copy for them.