An Online Assessment Strategy to Improve Student Engagement, Performance, and Retention: Certification-based Retesting

Rebecca Pierce, Matthew Brenneman, Martin Pierce, Eric Wilken


Many courses still utilize a traditional one chance testing model to assess student understanding. If the purpose of assessment is to reflect the mastery a student has in a course, then there is benefit for students to have multiple opportunities to show mastery. This paper outlines the results of a course policy of full grade replacement retesting that required students to first pass a “recertification” quiz. The goal of this policy was to adopt a pedagogical style that more readily reflected the opportunity of continued learning that many workers experience in the professional world while simultaneously aiming to engage students in an online course during the COVID-19 pandemic. A hypothesis test was conducted to determine if this retake policy helped to improve student grades during the course. The results indicate there was a statistically significant difference between the mean score on the first exam and the retest where, on average, students who utilized the exam retake increased their score. Time was found to have a positive relation with retest scores, but even after accounting for time, retesting was found to have a practical and significant effect on student performance. Retesting policies consistently show positive impacts on grades (e.g. Roszkowski & Spreat, 2016; Herman et al., 2019) and should be more widely considered when developing and updating course policies.

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Paper Submission E-mail:

Journal of Education and Training Studies  ISSN 2324-805X (Print)   ISSN 2324-8068 (Online)

Copyright © Redfame Publishing Inc.

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders. 

If you have any questions, please contact: