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Test Taking & Personal Responsibility

January 12, 2009

I’m a regular reader of Dr. Black’s blog, and this entry caught my eye. I know it’s a bit long, but I encourage you to read it all:

5:19 AM Today I’m giving a take-home exam in my Greek class. I find that students do a whole lot better when they write their exams in the relaxed environment of their homes rather than in a crowded classroom. This also frees up about 3 hours of precious class time.

In addition, tomorrow the students will grade their own exams in class. No, they will not swap papers. Each student will grade his or her own exam. It’s what I call the honor system, and I’ve used it for the past 33 years. I trust my students not to cheat and, frankly, I believe they love me too much to take advantage of me. I tell them that I am not worried in the least that they might cheat on the exam, primarily because if they do the Holy Spirit will be all over them until they make it right with Him —  and with me. So it’s just not worth it. I love my students. I think they know it. I hope they know it.

Which reminds me. When I was interviewing for my current position at the seminary some 11 years ago, one of the questions I asked president Patterson was, “How many office hours do you require of your faculty each week?” (I was then teaching at an institution that required 8 hours.) He looked at me and said, “We have only one rule here, Dave. We must all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ. Act accordingly.” I knew immediately that this was a faculty I wanted to join!

Think the best of people. Trust them. Even at exam time. Sure, you will be disappointed on occasion. But more often than not you will be pleased with their response.

This post reflects much of what I appreciate about Dr. Black – his belief in his students and a willingness to let them be free in Christ. That’s great Christian leadership! I grow weary and skeptical when someone has to monitor every detail to insure obedience. Guilt and control should not be the trademarks of Christian leadership. The Christian is free, and it is the Gospel that compels us towards right action. I look forward to starting another semester with Dr. Black, even if it may be the most difficult – as he puts it, the third semester of Greek is the most difficult class at Southeastern Seminary!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 12, 2009 7:17 pm

    “Most difficult class”? Brian, it’s my job to persecute the saints. (*Smile*)

    Seriously, can’t wait to have you back in class again. Going through Philippians together will be a blast — I hope even life-changing.

    Thanks for the link and the remarks.

    DB

  2. matt thomas permalink
    January 12, 2009 11:32 pm

    well said

  3. January 22, 2009 4:43 pm

    Thanks, Dr. Black – Looking forward to Tuesday!

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