I hate to post another ask a scatterbrain so soon after Andrew’s rather solid example, but I have a related issue. When my students prepare for their final exams I often tabulate how well each would have to do on the final in order to get an A, B, C, or D for the course as a whole. Normally this is a fairly uncontroversial process for me and students often appreciate the concrete knowledge. This semester, though, I have a student who will have to earn a grade on the final that is several letter grades higher than s/he has ever achieved on a test in order to pass the course at all. This student has also not asked me to tell them about their situation. Now, I am certainly hoping that the student manages to pass, but I’ve started wondering: if you have a student who can’t pass even if they get a perfect score on the final, is it appropriate to tell them not to bother taking it? On the one hand it seems like you’d be doing them a favor by telling them, if only so that they can devote more energy to other classes. On the other hand, it just seems wrong somehow. Again, my student does have a chance so I think s/he should take the final, but I’m curious whether anyone has ever tackled a situation like this before.