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Enable Retakes (Multiple Attempts) in Formative
Enable Retakes (Multiple Attempts) in Formative

Allow your students to take multiple attempts of the same formative!

Neta Raz Studnitski avatar
Written by Neta Raz Studnitski
Updated over a week ago

Why Allow Retakes?

Note: Retakes are only available on the new Assign Settings Redesign mode of Formative. While currently this mode is still in Early Access, and requires opting in to use at this time - this mode is planned to become the default and only mode for assigning formatives (student-paced) during the Spring of 2024. We highly recommend switching over to this new redesign, as many of our newest features are only supported via this mode.

You may wish to allow students to retake a formative for various reasons - from using a formative as a practice, to giving your students the option to correct former misconceptions and improve their grades by taking several attempts with the same formative. Now - there is a way to enable up to four attempts, or retakes, of the same formative with a click of a button.

When allowing retakes or multiple attempts - unlike when defining only one attempt and setting it with permission to be edited after submission - you do not only give your students the option to correct any questions they got wrong on their previous attempt(s), but it will also allow you to review the history of submissions from your students to include the exact answers they provided on each attempt they made - allowing you to review their learning progress and thought process. Since only the last attempt will be considered for data collection - teachers can manually adjust scores on that final attempt based on their students' work on the previous ones, if they so wish.

🙋🏻‍♀️ What is the difference between Retakes / Multiple Attempts and setting a Formative to Allow Edits After Submission ?

There is an important distinction between Retakes / Multiple Attempts, and editing answers on a singular attempt or submission. Let's start with some definitions:

An "Attempt" -

Is defined as a singular separate submission of a formative.

i.e. when selecting to allow only 1 attempt - once the student has submitted their formative their answers are locked in. If the teacher allows edits after submission, any changes made to responses recorded on this attempt / submission will overwrite the responses that were entered previously without leaving a record of them.

"Multiple Attempts" -

Allowing multiple (2 -4) attempts is defined as giving the student the option to make multiple separate submissions of the same formative. Each submission will lock a different set of answers the student inputted. Each separate attempt following the original one (i.e. the 2nd, the 3rd and the 4th attempts) is defined as a Retake.

The difference between taking an additional separate attempt (Retake) and making Edits within a singular attempt before or after the submission:

Edits students make to their answers within a singular attempt - whether they are made prior to submitting the attempt or after submitting the attempt - will completely overwrite any answer entered previously, and there will be no record of the original response. Only the response that was entered most recently will appear on the submission and will be taken into account.

Doing a Retake will start a NEW additional attempt that is separate from the one submitted earlier. Answers entered on this new separate retake are recorded as a separate submission from the former attempt(s). Thus, allowing teachers to see the difference between each attempt.

Note: At this time Retakes are not supported on formatives that have been tagged as Common Assessments.

Enable Retakes

As a first step to enabling the retakes for your students please make sure your Formative account is set to the new "Assign Settings Redesign" mode (see here for more details). This is a prerequisite to enabling retakes.

Enabling the retakes on a specific formative will take place on the formative's assign settings modal:

  1. Click "Assign", select the class(es) and proceed to adjust assign settings

  2. Adjust the number of attempts under the "Grading and Feedback" section - you can select anywhere between 1 - 4 attempts

  3. Select your preferred status for "Keep Correct Answers": Toggling this option ON will carry any correct answer inputted by the student to their following attempt(s) - so they will only need to enter new responses to the questions they previously answered incorrectly. Toggling this option OFF will remove all responses previously entered by the student and upon their next attempt they will need to re-enter the responses to all the questions on the formative.

  4. Proceed to adjust the rest of the assign settings under the "Grading and Feedback" section. Note that there are some settings under this category that will not make sense if you want your students to have multiple attempts (for example, it will not make sense to hide the formative after submission as your students will not be able to find it in order to take another attempt)

    For retakes to work as expected the following combination of Grading and Feedback settings is recommended:

    • After Submission = "Keep Visible (No Edits Allowed)"

    • Return Scores = "After Student Submits"

    • Return Correct Answers = "When Closed" or "Don't Show Answers"

    Any other combination of settings may not result in the expected behavior and students could run into issues taking advantage of the multiple attempts option.

  5. Proceed to adjust the additional assign settings sections of Time Management, Content Display, and Student Management per your preferences

  6. Click the "Assign" button when ready

Time Management Settings When Enabling Retakes

Time Management settings can effect the way a formative will behave if retakes / multiple attempts are enabled on it. Please note the following:

  • Due Dates: When setting a due-date on a formative, each attempt will count towards this due-date. Any attempts taken after the due-date has passed will be recorded as late-submission.

  • Time Limit: When setting a time limit on a formative, the timer will reset for each attempt taken. i.e. if there's a 15 minutes time limit, the student will have 15 minutes to complete each of the attempts made.

  • Pre-Set Close Time: When setting a pre-set closing time on a formative, the formative will automatically close at that time for all assigned students, regardless of the number of attempts they managed to take by that time.

  • Manual Close Time: When a teacher manually closes the formative, the formative will close at that time for all assigned students, regardless of the number of attempts they managed to take by that time.

The Student Experience

Once multiple attempts / retakes have been enabled on a formative, the amount of available retakes will be visible to students on their dashboard. The location of the formative on the students' lists will depend on its' current status:

  • Newly assigned formatives that have not yet been attempted will appear on the students' To-Do Formatives list, and will display how many retakes will be available to the student after they complete their first attempt (i.e. the total amount of attempts will be the number of retakes listed + one original attempt. In the example below, the student will have a total of 3 attempts - the original attempt + 2 retakes):

  • Formatives that have been attempted at least once, and still have additional available attempts on them will appear on the students' Retakes list, and will display the number of remaining attempts:

  • Formatives on which all attempts have been taken, or that were closed (even if not all attempts were taken advantage of), will appear on the students' Submitted list. The score displayed will reflect ONLY the last and final attempt submitted by the student, or the final score entered by the teacher manually (if the teacher adjusted the final score):

What happens when students retake a formative?

As soon students have submitted an attempt of the formative, they will be presented with an option to either take another attempt immediately, or to exit the formative and use the option to retake at a later time. The number of remaining attempts will be listed on this pop-up message as well.

If the student chooses to retake the assignment immediately, the formative will re-open immediately.

If the student selects to exit the assignment they will be able to click back into it by locating it on their dashboard under the Retakes list (as shown above) - when they click back into the formative they will again be presented with the option to begin another attempt immediately or re-exit the assignment to retake it at a later time.

Once students select to Retake Assignment the formative will re-open, and:

  • If you toggled on the "Keep Correct Answers" button - any question the student previously answered correctly will have the formerly entered answers already filled out on display. While students have the option to change these answers if they choose to, there is no need for them to do so - the correct answers will be saved and they can skip to the next question.
    If you didn't toggle on the "Keep Correct Answers" button, the formerly entered answers will appear un-answered and the students will need to re-enter their responses for the system to grade.

  • Any question the student previously answered incorrectly will appear unanswered at this time, and the student will need to enter a new response for the system to grade.

  • Any question that requires manual scoring by the teacher such as questions that do not have an answer key for auto-grading, or question types that are not possible to automatically score (for example, a Video Response) will NOT be saved in between attempts UNLESS already scored by the teacher. If they have not been scored yet, they will be treated in the same way as questions that were answered incorrectly and will appear unanswered upon the following attempt(s), meaning the students will need enter a new response. If the teacher manually scores these before the students begin another attempt, the score and the previously entered response will be saved and display for the student when retaking the formative.

View and Score Students' Retakes

Navigate to your formative's Responses tab to view your student responses on all their attempts. Be mindful that while you can view all the student's attempts and how they scored on them, only the final attempt's score will be returned to the student and included in data reporting. If you need to enter scores manually and/or wish to award your student a different score than the one they received automatically on their final attempt - you do have the ability to manually adjust the scores on this final attempt to your liking. Whatever score you manually enter will over-ride the system's auto-scoring and will be both returned to the student as their final score and included in data reporting.

Viewing all attempts by a student

  1. Navigate to your formative's Responses tab

  2. Locate the student whose work you want to view

  3. Click on the small downward arrow next to the student's name

  4. All the student's attempts will display in descending order, with the latest attempt at the top and the first attempt at the bottom

  5. Only the latest / final attempt will be returned to the student and taken into account for data reporting

  6. You can click on individual cells to view the answers entered for each question on each of the attempts. Full answers will be expanded to display on a right-side panel.

Scoring Retakes

If there are any questions on the formative that require manual scoring, you can score them by clicking on the relevant cell to expand the full response on the right side panel, and adjust the score at the top right corner of the screen.

You can also access any response that was auto-scored by the system and adjust the score on it to your liking (perhaps you'd like to average the student's former attempts, or give the student extra credit for effort).

Only scores on the final attempt are counted for the final score, therefore - make sure to enter manual scores on the final attempt only (which is displayed at the top). Whatever score you manually enter on the final attempt will over-ride the system's auto-scoring and will be both returned to the student as their final score and included in data reporting.


Send Feedback Messages to Students on Retakes

Any feedback message you send to your students or receive from them on an individual question while taking the formative - on any of the attempts - will carry over to all the following attempts. This will allow both you and the student to maintain a flow of communication throughout the whole process - from the moment the formative is assigned until the student has finished taking all possible attempts:

Other Ways to Enable Redos and Retakes in Formative

If a student has taken advantage of all the attempts awarded to them, or if students are re-taking a class and have already submitted responses to your formatives in the past and you want them to start from fresh, there are other ways to enable Redos and Retakes in Formative that do not involve enabling multiple attempts directly within the assign settings.

Teachers can:

  1. Remove student responses

  2. Unsubmit a student's formative

  3. Enable students to edit their responses

  4. Make a fresh copy of a formative and assign the copy as a retake

Read on to find out more about each of these options!

1. Remove student responses

You can reset a student's formative by removing their responses in the "View Responses" tab. This will remove all data from the student so far, allowing them to start the formative over from scratch. Click here to learn more about removing student responses.

Note that once the student responses are removed, they cannot be restored; so only choose this option if you do not need that set of data!

2. Unsubmit a student's formative

You can un-submit a student's formative in the "View Responses" tab. This will keep all the students' responses, but enable them to go back into the assignment to change their responses. Then can then click "Submit" a second time when they are finished. Click here to learn more about unsubmitting.

One of the advantages of doing this is that you can do it for as many students as you like, and it won't affect the Assign settings for the rest of the class.

3. Enable students to edit their responses

If you would like students to be able to update their responses, you can go back into your "Assign" settings and change the "After Submission" setting to "Enable edits." Click here to learn more about enabling edits.

This will allow all students to edit their responses as many times as they wish until the formative is closed.

If only some students need to edit their responses, you can restrict the formative to those students (Silver/Gold users only) at the same time as enabling edits. This will close the formative for the rest of the students in the class.

4. Make a copy of a formative and assign the copy as a retake

Make a clone of your formative and assign it to the whole class as a way for them to retake the assignment. This will allow you to compare their growth by keeping the original data. Click here to learn more about copying formatives.

Silver/Gold users can make a clone of the original formative and select only specific students to re-take it.

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