Can I pass this course?

Yes, if you take it next semester. Of course, you must put in much more work than you put in this semester. Oh, that’s not what your question meant? Can you pass this semester? Let me see. You’ve fallen behind, because you are not doing your homework. You also appear to have forgotten a lot of the prerequisite material.

Now you want to know if you can suddenly learn to work much harder to pass the course. How can I know? Am I an expert in psychology? Do I have any way of telling if a student who was previously unmotivated suddenly gets sufficiently motivated  to catch up AND to learn the new material. Yes, I’ve seen students do it, but it is very rare.

I’ll do the math for you, although I shouldn’t because this is a math course. I’ll tell you what you need to get on future tests. But I can’t tell you if you are going to put in the work to learn the material. How could I?

I am much more polite than this, and that  kind of politeness may be giving the students an unrealistic view of the situation.




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