Monday, March 22, 2010

Blunt Object

Another nice thing about leaving this job at the end of the semester is that I feel freer to tell students about the reality of their situations in very direct language. Today I got an email from a C- student wonder if it is possible to get a B in the class. Back of the envelope says that the student would need to score in the 90s on all the remaining exams. And normally that's what I'd say -- you'd need to score in the 90s on all the remaining exams. I'd also say that it doesn't strike me as too likely that a C- student would suddenly start doing that well, and I'd encourage the student to try for something more reasonable, like a C or a C+.

But now I'm thinking that I will also talk about the student's homework scores -- missed an assignment, did poorly on another, had a late penalty on two other assignments. This is not the behavior of a B student. Through a consistent pattern of choices made throughout the semester, my student has chosen not to be a B student.