“Felt like I was cheating”

Posted on November 18, 2014


One of my regulars came down, walking on air, because she has, indeed, continued a pattern of performance.  Her exam grades in pre-algebra have been an F, D, C and… this time, a B.

We work at post-mortems here, especially with successes.   It’s okay to say you did well because you had a good teacher (I’m not her teacher — I’m in the tutoring lab– she’s got an excellent one who has all kinds of ways of making the more abstract stuff accessible without resorting to tricks), but you’d better include your work in that scenario.   She said, “and I came down right before the test and said, “I need to go over these!   I felt like I was cheating, but…”

Pausing… so it’s cheating to get help with understanding material before a test?

Perhaps (I hope) it was the notion that “this is an assignment, and it should be my work,” which sort of misses that the task is to learn and understand using whatever tools are available.   (Hmmm… good slogan for something…)

I think a smattering of fixed mindset is in there, though —  if you’re worthy of the good grade, you’re supposed to just Be Able To Do It, thank you.  You aren’t supposed to need extra explanations.

Learn and understand using whatever tools make that possible…

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