This is part of a letter I emailed to my students (the parts with class stats removed) as they prepared for a second test.  The first test did not have scores that I found to be pleasing nor adequate work done in homework/practice test.  I fear that history is repeating itself.

The homework should be nearly complete in ALL of the sections.  The homework should be nearly complete so that you may use your study time taking/reviewing/discussing/retaking the practice test.  Trust me.  I know how to make test scores improve, but I can’t do anything until you bear the burden of responsibility on your shoulders.  I know that this course is very time consuming, and you have my sympathies, but my sympathies cannot cause you to learn mathematics.  I am obligated not to GIVE you grades, but to guide you to EARN them yourselves.  So, I ask of you—I beg of you, please exhibit the collegiate work ethic that would warrant my leniency.

You have Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to prepare.  Honestly, students who have not completed the homework ought to spend at least two to three hours on each of these days (in ADDITION to class on Tuesday) to prepare.  Students who have completed the homework need to study at least an hour on each of these four days or until scoring an A twice on the practice test.

I intended to remove your test anxiety by posting the practice test (even early per your request).  Please return the favor and remove my anxiety by taking it.

Cheering for your success,
Your math teacher

To my surprise, a few of them heeded my warnings.  Fingers crossed.  I feel like I have led the horse to water, but the horse doesn’t want to drink.  The horse wants to pay $300 to be led to the water and not be thirsty anymore, but doesn’t want to drink in order to quench the thirst.