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Who Helped You?

Today while walking to class, I passed a student sitting outside. As I walked by, he was looking over a paper that had been graded and returned to him. In red ink, it said, “95   Who helped you?”

As I was in a hurry, I didn’t stop or turn around to see his face, so my musings are just speculation. However, this was a profound situation. The grader’s comment can be taken at least two ways.

1)      The positive way—who has helped you to improve? Who inspired you? Who helped obtain the information? The grader is saying “way to go!” “Good job!” and so on.

2)      The negative way—From whom did you cheat? Who did this for you? With whom did you commit collusion? The grader is saying, “you aren’t good enough to do this well.” “Not only are you a bad student, but you’re a dishonest one.”

Either interpretation tells a significant story. What story does your feedback tell your students?


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