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should I advise my dd to drop the chemistry course or keep it?

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My 17yo is taking Chemistry II with the same teacher she had for Chemistry I. Chem I was a cakewalk. I told her that Chem II was going to be really tough and it certainly has been.


The problem is that she is getting 95-100 on all of the homework, but cratering on the tests. On each test, she has the methodology correct on the problems, but there is one thing that she will miss on each and every problem that completely craters her grade.


On the unit 1 test, what she got wrong was that the conjugate acids and conjugate bases are always on the right side, even when the direction of the reaction is reversed. That one thing lost her 20 points. The one homework assignment that covered it, which she completely bombed because she missed that one tidbit of information, was returned to her the same day she got the test back. That information was not in the textbook (which the teacher doesn't actually use, but recommends as a reference) and wasn't on any of the powerpoints. It was strictly one piece of verbal information. She was completely devastated by her grade of 80. It was the first B she had ever gotten on a test in her life.


I don't remember what it was on the unit 2 test, but at that point, the tests started getting out of sync with what they were covering in class. They were one week into the next unit before the test was available in the testing center. Again, there was one piece of information which wasn't in the text and wasn't in the powerpoints, but was only verbal that was responsible for all 23 points that she lost. She got a 77. The first every C she had ever gotten on a test in her life.


She was very confident about the unit 3 test. They had already finished the 4th unit and were starting the 5th before the test was made available at the testing center. She got a 65 on this one. All 35 points were because she didn't count water in the reaction. In unit 3, you had to count water, but in units 4 and 5, the first thing you were supposed to do was cross it out.


She wasn't confident at all about the unit 4 test and now she's terrified about what she got on that one.


So right now, her scores are 80, 77, and 65 for tests. There are 3 more test grades and the final. The tests are worth 10% each, the final is worth 20%, and the homework is worth 10%. She has an average between 95 and 100 on the homework.


She was completely devastated when she got the test back last night. I don't know whether to advise her to keep going with the class or drop it. She actually has all the way up to the 26th before she has to make a decision.


Right now she has a 4.0 GPA. The best she is likely to be able to pull off for chemistry lecture is a C, but with her grade dropping for each subsequent test, I can't see this ending well. She's going to talk to the teacher during her office hours on Thursday right before class. A lot depends on how she did on test 4 that she took last week. Test 5 won't open up until next week (last day for test 4 is tomorrow, but my dd took it on Friday last week) and they are already well into unit 7.


I know the 6 drop rule for Texas, but it doesn't apply for dual credit students, so she would still be able to drop up to 6 courses.


Would you advise dropping or not? I think dropping is probably the best idea assuming that she didn't do well on test 4 either.

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is that dual enrollment while in high school?

Can she still switch to auditing status? If so, I would do that, have her complete the course, and assign high school credit based on your own evaluation .

But whatever she does, she should talk to the professor first and get her honest opinion about the final grade she can expect; some instructors curve or have the grading scale and point distribution set up so that final grades are significantly higher than raw test scores.

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She really doesn't want to drop the course.


She is meeting with the teacher tomorrow before class to ask about what she should do. She really likes this teacher and got an A with her for Chem I, but Chem II is just killing her. She does the homework just fine, but then she keeps bombing the tests. It's also always just one thing that loses her the majority of the points and that one thing is different for every test.


She is also going to ask if the teacher has any particular method she would recommend for studying since what she has been doing this semester clearly isn't working. She's been rereading through the powerpoints, her notes, and her homework problems, and then working all the chapter problems that have answers in the back of the book to make sure that she understands what she's doing. She always gets those right. What she misses on the test is never something that was in the book.


And she can't change to audit status. You have to do that during the survey period.


This is a cc class she is taking under dual credit.

Edited by AngieW in Texas
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Oh definitely check to see if the instructor will be curving the grade! She might actually have the highest grade in the class if all she is getting wrong is that one little thing...really wonder how the rest of the class did on those.


Sometimes a college course is treated like a "weed them out class". This is when the instructor decides to separate the really good students from the semi interested ones to discourage all from moving on to the higher level courses in the major. I always found these harder then they needed to be.

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The teacher is letting her correct the problems she missed on this test to get partial credit back. The next test is opening up on the 13th and is available until the 21st. They just got their first two homework assignment worksheets for this unit today to be turned in on the 13th, so she is hoping to get those back next Thursday so she'll know if she did them right or not before taking the test on Friday (the 16th).


The textbook is an optional reference and doesn't match up exactly with what the teacher is covering.


Altogether it was a good meeting with the teacher. She made a point of telling the class two things that they absolutely must get right on the next test because they will get every problem wrong if they don't.

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I don't understand why the instructor is testing the class on concepts that are not covered in the textbook. Is there an additional textbook your dd could use as a supplement?


This has been discussed before on this forum. Some instructors at the college level feel the books should be read prior to class and then they lecture additional material beyond the book. This maximizes the amount of information a class can learn in the semester, but it can be challenging.

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This has been discussed before on this forum. Some instructors at the college level feel the books should be read prior to class and then they lecture additional material beyond the book. This maximizes the amount of information a class can learn in the semester, but it can be challenging.


All of my professors expected that the textbook section would be read before class and they spent the class time lecturing on additional material. Those students who skipped the lectures figured out very quickly that was a bad idea because most of the test questions came from the lectures.


However, the OP stated that in addition to working problems in the textbook, her dd also reviewed the instructor's PowerPoint presentations and her class notes. Based on that comment, I am assuming that the instructor must not be covering all of the topics tested during the classroom lecture either.:confused:

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