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William Draves

Good points Chris. And thanks for being in the picture. My immediate reaction is: are your grades gender neutral? We know boys test equally as well as girls, so your male students are being tested, and found to be learning/knowing as much as your female students.

About doing 'any of the work,' are you saying if you give them a test they don't take it? Am thinking they would. While it might be difficult, I think it is up to us as teachers to find out if the student knows the material, whether or not the student has done any "work." Why flunk Einstein, or Gates, or Jobs, or John Lennon (teachers flunked them all)....any smart person if they know the material. Why send smart people to work at WalMart? Why have your retirement income reduced because smart kids can't go to college and run businesses and employ people and....

Chris Wondra

Interesting points, and I can pretty much support your first two.

3 and 4 are a bit more complex than you make them out.

As a teacher (in St. Croix Falls), typically, when I say that a student didn't do the work, I mean "the student didn't do the work" at all--not, "he didn't spend enough time."

#4. If a student did the work in my class, there would be a journal to hand in (or publish), a project to present, some physical (or virtual) artifact to assess for learning. Without that artifact, I've got no way of knowing what the student knows or can do or is capable of. No way to adjust my instruction based on their learning. No feedback, that I, as a teacher need to measure learning. If it's a project, I don't care about the process. I do care about the outcome. The project. Without it. . . what have I got?

Your point for #3 is also interesting because it addresses the idea of "assessment." I don't assess (or evaluate) my students daily. I assess them in a number of different ways. It's not just one test. It's not just daily work. And it's not one single project at the end of the unit. It's not all written or verbal, literal or metaphorical.

I use all of the above methods to assess student understanding.

The challenge that teachers have when students don't do the work, or they don't turn things in on time, is that now there is nothing to assess (or evaluate).

P.S. that's me on the left of your picture there.


When I first started telecommuting, my father-in-law (who's in his 80s) asked me how does my boss know how many hours I work. Here's how the conversation:

FIL - How does your boss know how many hours you work?

ME - I have projects that need to be done and deadlines and as long as my work is done when it's supposed to be done at a high quality level, it doesn't matter when I work.

FIL - Yeah, but how does your boss know how many hours you work?

ME - I guess he doesn't.

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