VTCLIS13 Final Essay

Prompt: “Write an essay that explores the question”

Question: “How should a professor evaluate student performance and accomplishment in this course of study?”


  • Write Clearly
  • Write Well
  • Write in a natural, authentic, and effective manner.
  • Use three of the essays we have read this semester
    • Powerfully
    • Insightfully
    • Imaginatively
  • The words must Move
  • You must be Proud of at least some significant part of the essay
  • You must complete the essay by 5:54pm on 05/11/2013
  • Your work must be your own
  • You must indicate other sources


“There were no answers.  It was all supposition.  It was a premise built upon a pipedream—built on wishful thinking.  He would wake up in the morning and know that it was wrong.”—Simak

But he wouldn’t forget it because…

It wouldn’t be a school—at least not the kind of school he’d ever known before.”—Simak

The teachers at this school seemed to understand that…



“The augmenting of human intellect remains an uncertain and even perilous activity”-Murray

Where many children can be…

“held back in their learning because they have a model of learning in which you either got it or got it wrong” – Papert

 But you can’t get it wrong because…

It means supporting children as they build their own intellectual structures with materials drawn from the surrounding culture” – Papert

So perhaps the need to give out grades which so often…

“reflect commitment level, anxiety, and willingness to focus on core emphasis”—Nelson

Is an attempt to gauge it’s effectiveness in which case the grades are more for the instructor than the student.

I didn’t come here for the grade.  And I didn’t come to Virginia Tech for the benefit of the institution, so when you have to give me one then give me what you think I earned.

What I would prefer is to have a conversation about the thoughts went or will go through your head as you quantitatively or qualitatively determine what that grade should be.

I came here for the conversation and I hope that in some capacity it continues beyond the termination of the semester

Because It is what It’s all about.

Isn’t it?

-David Henry
Final Essay

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