Opinion: replacement work doesn’t replace learning

When a student receives a bad grade, teachers will sometimes give the opportunity to improve the grade with replacement work. However, Megan Lin questions whether this has any educational value.

Jay Schlaegel

When a student receives a bad grade, teachers will sometimes give the opportunity to improve the grade with replacement work. However, Megan Lin questions whether this has any educational value.

Megan Lin, Editor-in-chief

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In a lot of classes, teachers often offer an alternate assignment to replace a grade, which is intended to help students who feel like they didn’t do as well as they’d like on a grade. It sounds like a nice benefit, but it causes more problems than it does solutions.

First off, it’s often a lot more stress for the student to do well on the new assignment and it wastes their time that could be used on homework from other classes. Instead, they should be focusing on what exactly they did wrong on that assignment and work towards a better grade in that class.

Not only that, it’s more work for teachers. Replacement assignments just put even more of a workload on teachers’ grading pile. That time used grading could be put to use planning for the next class and getting all the necessary materials ready.

It just seems like busywork, and it’s not meant to help the student understand their mistakes and learn from them. Replacement assignments only serve to raise a bad grade, and don’t necessarily have any educational value in them.

Also, some students did well on the assignment and it’s not fair and a time-waster for them to do something that doesn’t benefit them in any way.

Certainly, I’m not blaming students for not doing well on one assignment. There are a lot of outlying factors, like a discrepancy in the way it’s graded or a misunderstanding of what the assignment was about. Sometimes a replacement grade is the only way to change an unwanted grade, but it’s not always the default answer.

Replacement grades should be given on a case-by-case basis. Students who don’t need to do it shouldn’t need to, and students who do need it should be given the opportunity to do it. This ensures that the time students spend on schoolwork is used wisely, and not wasted on mindless busywork.