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Dave:  I have a student that has been warned during every test, as the class has, and if talking takes place…a zero will be given. PSAT, SAT and State Examinations prohibit talking during a test. Can the zero be given for a final exam?

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12/20/2018 12:46 pm

Dave, do you think this student may have a disability that is making it more difficult to follow the classroom expectation not to talk during a test? Do you think the student needs to take tests in an alternate location? Have you brought in the district resources who can help with furniture arrangement, such as occupational therapist or behavior specialist? Have you tried giving the student preferential seating (perhaps asking the student and parents for specific suggestions)? Example of disability accommodations: my high schooler will be taking his SAT in a separate location due to Tourette Syndrome.

12/30/2016 9:52 pm

Some people talk when they are anxious. Threatening to give a zero on a final exam isn’t going to reduce anxiety but is likely to make it worse.

Isn’t the purpose of the exam to measure what your students learned? Their knowledge? If you give a zero to a student who talks, what are you measuring? If you give a zero to a student who talks, aren’t you using the grade to punish? How will you know if your instruction was effective – i.e., if the student learned anything in your class?

Can you ask a school psychologist or behavior specialist to observe the student in your class, give you ideas about how to manage his/her talking?

Finally, don’t take the talking personally. Put your teacher hat on, figure out how you can help, not punish.