Should Students Have To Pay To Retake Failed Classes?


Students who fail a required course for graduation should have to pay in order to retake that course.  As it stands now, students who fail are either allowed to retake the course at school for free, or they are allowed to take credit recovery after school or during the summer for free.

This policy should change.

According to assistant principal Laura Scully, “The problem with charging a fee is that we don’t want to create barriers.”

But barriers are apparent when students don’t pass a class. This is because students get behind as far as coursework load, and they are required to take the class that was failed the following semester or year.

Scully states that the amount of credits earned in credit recovery improved this summer. In the summer of 2016, 36 half credits (1 semester of a class) were earned. In the summer of 2017, 56 half credits were earned by the 93 students in the program.  So, after failing the class the first time, then receiving free credit recovery, 40% of the students still do not have credit for the class.  

The most commonly completed class in credit recovery is English.

“Many students fail classes at the end of the term,” said Scully.

Scully believes that the reasons kids tend to not pass a class include:  kids may plan trips around finals week, or they lack self management. This is why students have to repeat courses in credit recovery or in the regular classroom.

Students should have to pay in order to retake a class at school; however, there can be exceptions such as if they have medical issues, or something unavoidable comes up.

According to Shelley Johnson, there can and should be exceptions, “If it’s a legitimate reason that they failed (such as medical issues) then they should be able to take it again. If they blatantly failed a course, then they should have to pay to take it again.”

One of the issues that comes up with students failing classes is that regular classes get all filled up, and then teachers end up taking on more students than they would otherwise have in class.

In addition, students would be much more motivated if there was a fee involved with failed classes. Students would have an incentive to work hard, and it would not only improve their chances of graduating on time, but it would also give students more opportunities career-wise.

Although one could argue that graduation rates are fine and kids will be kids, offering free “retakes” costs the school time and money. If the school didn’t have to pay for students to retake classes, then there would be much more money to spend on things like elective courses, scholarships, field trips, and many other lacking necessities.

If none of these exceptions apply, then students should have to pay a fee if they fail to pass a class. This would reduce the number of kids in classes–because they would have an incentive to pass it the first time–and would increase the number of elective courses offered.  It’s a win-win.