Saturday, April 10, 2010

I wanted you to do better.

I love Grinds. I'll admit it.

My second favorite students are the students that are sharp, work hard, give intelligent answers on exams, participate in class, and are enthusiastic learners. But my favorite students of all are the ones that aren't that bright but love the subject matter enough to really work hard and do well through sheer force of will. Perhaps I have a personal connection with them.

Stu has done poorly on all my tests so far. Stu is in danger of not passing. She shows up, she does her work, but the class is over her head. She came to me too late a few weeks ago to salvage her grade, but has shown up well prepared to all of my office hours since. Its clear to me she's putting the effort in. It also seemed to me she was quite well prepared for our last test, that she understood the material. But she got THE SAME grade this test as all the other tests.

I SO want her effort to be rewarded, so I am probably more disappointed than she is.


  1. that's disappointing... :(
    I have had student(s) told me that they spent 3 hours after class each time to read/prepare the materials. And they had tutor sessions to go over the materials with them. Yet their grades are still not good. I can't help but wondering if the form of the exam (i.e. multiple choices) did work at disadvantage for different kind of students/learners?

  2. I had a roommate like this - she worked really hard and could hold an intelligent conversation about the material but didn't do so well on exams. That really made me think that exams don't evaluate students very well. She eventually took a couple semesters off, got a great job in a research lab, and come back to school to get an A in a really hard class. I don't think she magically improved her study skills so I can only guess she learned context for the material at her job, which made me think I need to figure out alternative teaching strategies.

  3. Sigh. I know the feeling. If they come to you too late, there's only so much you can do. But it sounds like this one might also have a dose of text anxiety? Have you suggested she could see someone about that? Most of my struggling students just didn't know how to study in general, so I gave them some suggestions and strategies. They were also lacking the appropriate prerequisites. That wasn't really my fault. But I still feel bad about it when I can't help. Breaks my heart, really. I don't know how people do it year after year.

  4. It's true. I'm pretty certain that the traditional lecture/ MC exam is really NOT the most efficient way for some (many) students to learn. Some love it (as I did). Until I come up way to incorporate POGIL (process-oriented guided inquiry- based learning) or some such thing, I am stuck with the same-ol, same-ol. And it costs me students like this...

  5. Have you the option of giving an oral exam for certain times? some people do better in a conversation than a "read question and punch hole for correct answer".

    I know i had both written exams, assays and oral exams. The latter both in group (oh the horror when one couldn't the answer) and alone (usually an option for dyslectic people as well as a "make up exam". Alone with the prof for an hour. It's hard to fake it then...)

    Thanks for the English abbrevation of what was used at my alma mater. POGIL it is. It is actually easier on the teachers in the end, my opinion as a former teacher in there too, since you get away from the complain since everyone has something they are better at...