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Doctrine of Completed Work
THE DOCTRINE OF COMPLETED STUDENT WORK
Completed student work is the study of a problem, and presentation of a solution, by a student, in such form that all that remains to be done on the part of the teacher is to indicate approval or disapproval of the completed product. The words "completed work" are emphasized because the more difficult the problem is, the more the tendency is to present the product of that work to the teacher in an inappropriate or incomplete fashion.
It is your duty as a student to work out the details of an assignment. You should not consult your teacher in the determination of those details, no matter how perplexing they may be, so long as the teacher has given you adequate prior directions. You may and should consult other classmates, as well as other past products, including teacher-provided models, for guidance and suggestions, but this is not to be used in place of your own work. The product - whether it involves the expression of a newly acquired skill or reinforcement of an established one - when presented to the teacher for approval or disapproval, must be worked out in a finished form.
One impulse which often comes to the inexperienced or insecure student is to ask the teacher what to do even after the teacher has given instruction and models. This recurs more often when the problem is difficult. It is accompanied by a feeling of mental frustration. It is easy to ask the teacher what to do, and it appears too easy for the teacher to answer. Resist the impulse unless to do so would mean you cannot complete the assigned work.
Another impulse is to turn in work that is “overdone”; that is, work that has more information than is required by the assignment. This information is unnecessary and makes it more difficult to evaluate. Complete work, then, is of appropriate depth and size, according to the expectations of the teacher.
It is your job to advise your teacher what she or he ought to clarify in the giving of directions and expectations. Your job is then to study, write, restudy, and rewrite until you have evolved a single finished product, the one that best reflects your understanding of the teacher’s expectations. Your work should be placed before the teacher in finished form so that the teacher can then merely approve or disapprove.
In most instances completed student work results in a single document that is ready for the approval of the teacher without any additional comments. If for some reason this product can not be submitted, or is submitted in a manner different from the expectations, do not give unsolicited explanations and excuses. Giving excuses to your teacher does not constitute completed work. If the teacher wants comment or explanation, she or he will ask for it.
The theory of completed student work does not preclude a rough draft, but the rough draft must not be a an incomplete idea. It must be complete in every respect except that it lacks the requisite formatting and need not be neat. But a rough draft must not be an excuse for shifting to the teacher the burden of completing the work that you should be completing.
The completed work theory may result in more work for the student. That is as it should be. Further, it accomplishes two things:
1. The teacher may focus on giving directions and approving or disapproving of the completed work.
2. The student who needs the teacher to give them information, or has knowledge to express is able to do so.
When you have finished your completed student work the final test is this:
If you were the teacher would you be willing to approve of the work you have prepared, and stake your grade on its being right?
If the answer is no, re-work your solution because it is not yet completed work.