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Sue in St Pete

End of semester report

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My freshman did very, very well this semester. She worked her tail off. She gets along well with her roommate (though there have been a couple more Lysol type problems, lol).  She, a true introvert, has a found large group of friends. Like SEVEN whole people, LOL. She did an amazing 7 page research paper even though getting her to write is like pulling teeth.  She walked-on to the team in her sport and got $$$. She also gets to get up at 5:30 AM and practices 4-5 hours a day; nothing in life is free.

 

She ended with a 3.9 average with A's in all three Landscape Arch classes, A in the second of the two English classes required, and A in Precalc (we did not do a great job on Precalc/Calc so she wanted to start over) and a B+ in her Freshman Seminar.  She had an A in that one at midterm but forgot to do an online test. :glare:  Sigh. Fortunately, it was only a 1 credit class.

 

I am very pleased with her progress.  She is bored and a bit off kilter at home now but her dog is so totally over the moon that she is back that it is hard for her to mope.

 

She is a little worried about next semester, not because of Calc or the higher level L. Arch./Design classes but because she has to take...a History class... :huh:

 

Georgia

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanks for the info regarding weeder classes. I thought that was what they were. If a student has to take one of them, what is the best way to get a decent grade? All I can think is to always ask around before taking a class to get an idea of how hard it will be, how fair, how reasonable, etc. and then to stay in close communication with the professor to be sure you are studying the right material.

 

Do instructors not get grief from the administration if they have a high number of kids failing a particular class? Do the students not complain?

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Thanks for the info regarding weeder classes. I thought that was what they were. If a student has to take one of them, what is the best way to get a decent grade? All I can think is to always ask around before taking a class to get an idea of how hard it will be, how fair, how reasonable, etc. and then to stay in close communication with the professor to be sure you are studying the right material.

 

Do instructors not get grief from the administration if they have a high number of kids failing a particular class? Do the students not complain?

 

Assuming that we just mean an intrinsically hard class, not one that is intentionally designed to make people fail:

I teach one of those, calculus based physics. For the past 15 years, on average 25% of students receive a D or F in this course, and for most majors a D means the student has to repeat the class.

Over the last five years I have looked closely at the numbers, and every.single.one of the failing students had multiple missed assignments. Conversely, I never had a student with perfect attendance and all complete assignments fail the course.

So, in order to success, the first thing the student should do is put in time on task. The student  should have a realistic expectation of the time required, about 2 hours out of class for every hour in class. This includes doing the assigned reading before class, reviewing reading and lecture notes after lecture, doing homework. The student needs to stay on top of things. Slacking for a week or two with plans to catch up later won't work - catching up later is not going to happen.

Make use of the academic assistance that is offered. For my class, we are offering 10 hours of learning centers where students can work in groups with faculty and peer learning assistants present, plus 10 hours of walk in tutoring every.single. week. Colleges bend over backwards to help students succeed, but the students need to avail themselves of the opportunities.

 

Students who lack the intellectual capability to pass the course are extremely rare. In almost all cases, the issues that prevent students from succeeding are lack of time management and work ethic, not intrinsic ability.

 

ETA: And of course students complain. But the threshold for administration to become involved is pretty high - and it should be. The quality of a course and the expectations should not gradually decline over the years; it is not in the best interest of the institution to lower standards just so that underprepared students can receive passing grades.

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Thanks for the info regarding weeder classes. I thought that was what they were. If a student has to take one of them, what is the best way to get a decent grade? All I can think is to always ask around before taking a class to get an idea of how hard it will be, how fair, how reasonable, etc. and then to stay in close communication with the professor to be sure you are studying the right material.

 

Do instructors not get grief from the administration if they have a high number of kids failing a particular class? Do the students not complain?

 

The "weeder class" may not need to fail a student in order to weed them out.  I was talking with an instructor at our local Big State U, who teaches one of the weeder classes for a particular major.  At this school, students are admitted to the school without regard for intended major.  However, there are four to five times as many students interested in her major than the school has capacity to teach to graduation.  This school's solution is to require a GPA of 3.5 in four introductory classes in order to be accepted into the major.  The instructors have been told to grade such that only the top quarter or so of their students make this GPA.

 

While this may seem draconian at first blush, after thinking about the problem, it does seem like the most fair solution -- to accept students into the major based on college level work done at that college, not based on high school work or other factors they may have difficulty assessing.  

 

So, in some cases, not only is the administration aware of the weeder classes, but was instrumental in their creation.

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Students who lack the intellectual capability to pass the course are extremely rare. In almost all cases, the issues that prevent students from succeeding are lack of time management and work ethic, not intrinsic ability.

 

I will add to what regentrude says, which is excellent and very correct. I teach math, not physics, so it's slightly different but not a lot. 

 

In developmental (remedial, non-credit, whatever you want to call it) mathematics, students who complete all assignments have a 95% rate of passing with a C or better. Yet, the rate for the class as a whole is barely over 50%.These courses have absolutely no prerequisites so there are students in there who have not been in school in 40 years and didn't take algebra when they were, or students who scored a 12-14 on the ACT-M, so it is almost always not due to lack of intellectual capability but rather to being so far below ready for college algebra that it takes more than one semester to remediate. I am not aware of a single case where a hard-working student failed the first semester and then did not successfully complete in the second while continuing to complete every assignment -- if there is one, it is more than 8 years ago. 

 

Now, moving on to the college-credit courses. One of the big reasons that calculus is a weeder course is because it really expects you to remember your high school algebra and trigonometry and be able to apply them. In all the courses before that, there is a LOT of review. Students are not used to this and so it is a rude awakening. Also, many students who are fresh out of high school are used to such silly things as being able to retake the same test over and over again or being able to bring their grade from an F to a C by doing a lot of extra credit, and they do not believe us when we reiterate that these are not available. So they get a D on the first test and just keep going as they have been, instead of saying "Holy crap I'm doing really badly! I need to get my rear in gear and get to the tutoring center and put in a lot more time!"

 

Advice to students: Students should be able to work every problem on every homework assignment. One of the big causes of failure is that someone doesn't understand something early on in the course, and rather than working until they DO understand it, they stick their fingers in their ears and pretend it isn't there. This does.not.work. Students should also practice doing problems with the book SHUT before the test rather than doing them all with the book open. One of the big issues is that people confuse being able to recognize a problem and look up how to do it in the book with being able to do a problem with the book shut. They then are confused as to why they don't do well on the test when the homework went fine.

 

If the student doesn't do well on the first test, the student needs to seek advice from the professor, TA, or learning center on how to improve, rather than hoping it will get better. 

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Adding in further:

 

Yes, of course professors get flak about high failure rates. But assuming that we are not deliberately trying to fail students (it may happen somewhere, but it is pretty rare), and that we are not terrible teachers, we really only have a few options. 

 

1) Somehow convince more of the students to do the necessary work to pass the class. 

2) Make the class easier, which causes serious issues with accreditation, students who transfer, and preparation of our students for further study or future classes.

3) Take more semesters to cover the same stuff, which lengthens time towards degree and increases credits required for degree. 

4) Require more prerequisite classes or higher scores on placement tests, which has the same disadvantages as number 3. 

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I teach an introductory business finance course that many see as a "weeder" course.  While there are a relatively high number of D's and F's in the course, the students with these grades tend to have high rates of absence and low homework grades.  I am just now completing final grades for the class.  We have an online homework system which allows unlimited attempts for students to work homework problems to improve their grades.  Of the students who received an A or B in my class, the average homework grade was a "96."  of those students who received a D or F in my class, the average homework grade was a "72."  Many of those receiving a D or F did not even begin over half of the homework assignments.  I did not have a single student who received a D or F this semester come by my office during the semester for help with the material.  Now that final grades are posted, 

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My daughter was taking a weeder course this semester as a DE student.  She reiterates what the Regentrude, kiana, and jdahlquist are saying about the students.  DD is dyslexic so everything took her much longer to do than the non dyslexic students.  Didn't make any difference.  She did the work, studied with the book closed, did the homework, and ended up with an A and the highest grade in the class.  

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Only sometimes, they truly are weeder classes and the intent IS to keep students from moving forward. And, sometimes the teachers or materials are just crappy. Just attending class and doing the homework is not always enough. Sometimes, schools only want the top  X% to move forward. And, sometimes the teachers just really are that bad. When the had of the math tutor center (a professor with a doctorate in math) has been tutoring your dc in a class and you overhear him say that he is afraid of what is going to happen when they implement they "new" program they are currently using in your dc's calc class into precalc the next semester because of his experience tutoring her this go round...you do wonder what exactly is going on. When it is taking that head of the department over an hour to figure out how to work ONE of the the assigned homework problems before he can help dc with learning to work them...You start understanding why it is taking her 5 to 6 hours outside of class to complete her homework. Dc's explanation is that the teacher is just that bad. She doesn't feel it is actually the program (as the tutor seemed to insinuate), it is the teacher's choice of problems. (Then again, those problems probably shouldn't be available at this level!) It is also putting problems on tests that do not match up to problems being worked in class and homework. It is having the entire class being discovery based instead of taught. (I am sorry, but discovering the principles of chemistry through leading questions? malarkey!) Then, not providing the answer key so that they students can tell whether they are even doing the problems correctly. Maybe the method they discovered was wrong?!!?  When a student who is attending every class and has achieved A's in all of their math or science classes to date (including at the same college) is suddenly struggling to get a C while receiving as much tutoring support that is available (including from the instructor until they realize that is just wasted time), there is a real problem with the teacher. Dc has submitted a very detailed and scathing review of the class. So, yeah, there are kids out there who are not passing because they aren't putting in the effort. However, there are also teachers out there who are just not doing a good job. There are also classes that are intentionally hard to make students reconsider their majors. Had a couple of those for my dc this semester. Actually, this has been the worst semester for all of my girls. Dd22 managed to pull out a 3.5 (which is low for her). Hers weren't weeder classes, she is close to graduation. Hers were bad instructors and classes that required a lot of group work. She can't figure out how some of these other kids have gotten this far without failing out...After some bad grades, she finally just took what he gave to the project and totally redid his work herself to submit. Dd20a also got a 3.5. She managed to pass the last math class she is required to take and has two teachers who are in love with her. One in a kind of scary way; the other in a teacher/student kind of way. Dd20b dropped down to a 3.1 this go round. She is in a lot of weeder classes this time (almost everyone she knows is changing from this major right now) and the school is trying out some new fangled crap that is not good. Add in a horrid calc teacher, and I think she did great. She did comment that if she cannot work around having this one instructor again, she will actually change schools. That is something because she really likes this school. She managed to pass, but does not know the material well enough to move forward. She will be having private tutoring with the head of the math tutor center this next semester in the class she just passed this next semester (no credit) so that she can pass the next level class in the future. Which leaves me wondering how the #@#$ the woman she had this semester has a job. (I'm not sure she actually passed the class or if the professor gave her the passing grade because she knew how much time she has spent being tutored by head dude. Small school and she is up for evaluation this semester. Failing all of your students can't be a good thing.)

 

Sorry for the rant, just adding another perspective. 

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FWIW, it's still important to consider the level of the college one is attending.  They are not all the same.  As middle son was telling me about his Physics exam and problems, this once again popped into my mind.

 

In general, research schools will put very challenging questions on tests checking to see what students can do with them - can they reach and think beyond the homework.  Very little is done with numbers.  A good part of it is just variables.  This isn't just Physics, it's also been his experience with Chem, Bio, Orgo, Calc, Psych and his BCS (Brain and Cognitive Science) classes.

 

At other schools they tend to be focused more on being able to solve problems that are very similar to homework problems.  They are still challenging, but in a way that can be practiced.  Of course, those looking to do more have to also be able to do these.

 

I think the research Us are interested in finding the future researchers who can come up with new things - thinking outside the box, etc. for their top grades (others still pass if they can do the basics).  Students who aren't so good at this are likely to be a bit bummed.  It's important to get the fit right - esp if GPA is important.

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Just piping in to mention that weeder classes don't necessarily come only at the start of the college experience, but can also come at the end.

 

When I was in college and majoring in mathematics, I did quite well in all my core math classes until I got to my last two classes.  Suddenly the classes became very theoretical in nature, and the professor told us right away that if you merely showed your dedication to the class by attending tutoring and office hours, you would at least pass the class with a "C"... which I did.  That's the ONLY reason I passed those two classes.  I didn't understand a word of what was going on in those classes.  (LOL)

 

I didn't understand it then, but I do understand it now:  I think those last two classes were meant as weeder classes for graduate school.  Of which I got the message loud and clear - no graduate school for me.  (LOL)

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Kinsa, I'd suspect that those two classes were abstract/modern algebra and advanced calculus/real analysis -- more rigorous versions of those classes are the first-year classes in graduate school, so quite honestly it makes sense to me to warn students before they go to the effort and expense of applying to graduate school. There were a few people in graduate school with me who were admitted without having had those classes (which meant that they had to take them as their first year of graduate school), and some of them did fine ... but some of them floundered through and dropped out after a year, with nothing to show for it. 

 

It would not make sense (and frankly be horrible) to fail people in those classes and not let them complete a math major simply because graduate school is not the best place for them right now. But giving C's for people who tried hard makes sense. 

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Kinsa, I'd suspect that those two classes were abstract/modern algebra and advanced calculus/real analysis -- more rigorous versions of those classes are the first-year classes in graduate school, so quite honestly it makes sense to me to warn students before they go to the effort and expense of applying to graduate school. There were a few people in graduate school with me who were admitted without having had those classes (which meant that they had to take them as their first year of graduate school), and some of them did fine ... but some of them floundered through and dropped out after a year, with nothing to show for it. 

 

It would not make sense (and frankly be horrible) to fail people in those classes and not let them complete a math major simply because graduate school is not the best place for them right now. But giving C's for people who tried hard makes sense. 

 

Yes, Real Analysis and Numerical Analysis.  Ay yi yi.

 

I'm not bitter about it.  My life took a different turn (USAF, marriage, kids) and I've never been interested in graduate school.  It makes sense that those classes were offered as a way to bridge kids into grad school.  I guess they are sorta like AP Calculus to high school students, yes?

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Kinsa, I'd suspect that those two classes were abstract/modern algebra and advanced calculus/real analysis -- more rigorous versions of those classes are the first-year classes in graduate school, so quite honestly it makes sense to me to warn students before they go to the effort and expense of applying to graduate school. There were a few people in graduate school with me who were admitted without having had those classes (which meant that they had to take them as their first year of graduate school), and some of them did fine ... but some of them floundered through and dropped out after a year, with nothing to show for it. 

 

It would not make sense (and frankly be horrible) to fail people in those classes and not let them complete a math major simply because graduate school is not the best place for them right now. But giving C's for people who tried hard makes sense. 

Similar experience for me as a math major.  I did OK in all my math classes up to real analysis (with the exception of differential equations which was one of the 3 engineering flunk out class, but that was another story.)  I started it in summer school which was a mistake to take it on an abbreviated schedule.  I was barely squeaking a C when I had to drop out of school for health reasons about 2/3 the way through the class.  I hadn't a clue.  When I went back to school to finish up my degree 1 semester later, that class made so much more sense to me and I got an A, but I was already knew I was not grad school material ... at least not in math. 

 

I ended up having to take differential equations twice.  The first time, I was really getting it up to the first exam and got a very high A on that exam.  From that date on, I didn't have a clue what this man was saying ... it was like he started speaking a different language.  I struggled through problem sets, tried to get help from my engineer friends, went to see the instructor, who was never there during published office hours.  I failed the second exam and was accused of cheating on the first exam.  I went to see him and told him that he could give me any problem from that first unit and I could do it.  I really did know that material, but hadn't understood a thing he did after that.  He then told me to go home and make babies instead of wasting his time.  (This was the 80s ... pre-Anita Hill - who would they believe?  A tenured professor, or a failing student?)  He dropped the cheating accusation, but I failed his class.  I did better the 2nd time around, though. 

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I ended up having to take differential equations twice.  The first time, I was really getting it up to the first exam and got a very high A on that exam.  From that date on, I didn't have a clue what this man was saying ... it was like he started speaking a different language.  I struggled through problem sets, tried to get help from my engineer friends, went to see the instructor, who was never there during published office hours.  I failed the second exam and was accused of cheating on the first exam.  I went to see him and told him that he could give me any problem from that first unit and I could do it.  I really did know that material, but hadn't understood a thing he did after that.  He then told me to go home and make babies instead of wasting his time.  (This was the 80s ... pre-Anita Hill - who would they believe?  A tenured professor, or a failing student?)  He dropped the cheating accusation, but I failed his class.  I did better the 2nd time around, though. 

 

Yeah, my mother was told (by an engineering professor) that he never helped female students because they were just going to get a degree and go take a job from some hard-working man who needed the job to support his family.

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 When it is taking that head of the department over an hour to figure out how to work ONE of the the assigned homework problems before he can help dc with learning to work them...You start understanding why it is taking her 5 to 6 hours outside of class to complete her homework. 

Out of curiosity, is this 5 to 6 hours per week being spent on homework assignments?  Or, is it 5 to 6 hours several times per week for a class that meets multiple times a week?

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Out of curiosity, is this 5 to 6 hours per week being spent on homework assignments?  Or, is it 5 to 6 hours several times per week for a class that meets multiple times a week?

 

Good question.  I would definitely expect the homework for a four hour class to take 5-6 hours per week - even with a great instructor and opportunities to receive assistance.

 

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Out of curiosity, is this 5 to 6 hours per week being spent on homework assignments?  Or, is it 5 to 6 hours several times per week for a class that meets multiple times a week?

Sorry, that is 5-6 hours of homework per hour of classtime. I was thinking in those terms and didn't even consider it could be taken any other way!

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Goodness - THAT is ridiculous for a regular class

 

Which is why the man in charge of the tutor center is afraid of what is going to happen when they put this program into the lower level math classes. Dd was one of the few who passed her class.  She received a C-. One boy did get an A. He knew everything going into the class already. The tutors could not work most of the homework problems dd had difficulty with. They tried and gave up, which is how she ended up with head dude. 

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Which is why the man in charge of the tutor center is afraid of what is going to happen when they put this program into the lower level math classes. Dd was one of the few who passed her class.  She received a C-. One boy did get an A. He knew everything going into the class already. The tutors could not work most of the homework problems dd had difficulty with. They tried and gave up, which is how she ended up with head dude. 

Was it the type of problems that was the difficulty?  (just hard problems)  Or, when you refer to "program" is it a computer program homework problem set in which the computer input is causing the problem/difficulty?

 

I am asking this because I teach a math based finance course and there has been increasing pressure by the administration to use new, innovative computer technology for homework.  I have found it is leading to more time spent on non-course material related issues (the software wanted a particular step done in a particular order, an intermediary step had to be rounded to a particular decimal place or the final answer was wrong, etc.)  I am trying to find out more about what students who are really trying to do the work are running into with issues doing homework.  

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Was it the type of problems that was the difficulty?  (just hard problems)  Or, when you refer to "program" is it a computer program homework problem set in which the computer input is causing the problem/difficulty?

 

I am asking this because I teach a math based finance course and there has been increasing pressure by the administration to use new, innovative computer technology for homework.  I have found it is leading to more time spent on non-course material related issues (the software wanted a particular step done in a particular order, an intermediary step had to be rounded to a particular decimal place or the final answer was wrong, etc.)  I am trying to find out more about what students who are really trying to do the work are running into with issues doing homework.  

 

It is a computer program homework problem set. It is not computer input causing the problems. Once you learn the program that problem is eliminated. However, oldest dd is a business major. She is having huge problems with the computer homework programs malfunctioning. Not just input, but losing assignments that were turned in, having answers incorrectly graded (answer is wrong in computer bank), and other glitches that rain trouble down upon her regularly. Although, the dd I was discussing did have trouble with her online chemistry at the end. They were assigned an end of term assessment that counted as 1/5 of their grade (uses Aleks). She spend over 3 hours taking this in depth assessment that covered the entire semester. She saved her work. She got a grade on it. Then, she checked her grades later for the class and it was gone. Disappeared. Poof. Fortunately, her teacher was able to look at the program somehow and see that she had been online working on it for that length of time and see the grade she had received. She manually entered it into the system. Poor dd, with the horrid semester she has had, was a basket case until her teacher got back to her. 

 

With the one I was talking about, some of the problems were just extremely complex and the material was not covered at all in class. The students were expected to find it on the internet and learn how to do it or something. The fact that the math tutors cannot work the problems seems indicative of that. The other problem is that the numbers used were very large and difficult to work with. This school does not allow calculator use in math classes. Dd actually likes the fact that the computer program allows her to know whether or not she gets the answers correct or not. Her comments lead me to believe (I am not actually taking the class of course!) that the problems the teacher is choosing for them to work (involving very large numbers with no calculator=good chance for making a tiny mistake somewhere along the line and just being way more complex than what the class is covering) is the main part of the problem. 

 

Honestly, she really just dislikes this professor. The ones she has had prior to this class made problems seem easier. This one seems to make them as complex as possible. She (the teacher) also will spend 45 minutes of class working one problem (end of term) only to find that she (teacher) has made an error somewhere along the line and spend the rest of class time trying to find it. I truly believe dd that she is just a bad teacher. I have heard other students make similar comments when her name is mentioned. I do wonder if she will make it past this evaluation period with her job intact. The school does take student evaluations seriously. I believe the math tutor guy has some input too.....

 

Adding: Overally, dd22 dislikes the computer programs being used for homework in her business related classes. It seems like they are nothing other than a pain in her rear end. Dd20b likes some of them, and seems to be blaming the teacher for the problems with the one in her calc class. The tutor center guy seems to think it is the program itself. She likes Aleks, but her classmates don't seem to care for it as much. My dd has had prior experience with using it and was comfortable with it going in. That one glitch just hit her at a really, really bad time! For the most part, she has liked having computerized homework because she has instant feedback and multiple attempts to work the problems before they are counted incorrect.

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Sometimes with the ugly numbers it is the computer program randomly generating them. We do allow them to use calculators and if they forget their calculators they can use the windows calculator.

 

The computer program we are using (not aleks, will discuss via pm if anyone actually cares about the specifics) is actually really good. I was dubious but I have been won over. I still don't like having *everything* on it as I would like to see more of their work myself, but they do appear to be learning better than before. 

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Final grades are in...

 

A+ (98.9 in Latin)

A in Russian

A in Russia Today

A- in Into to Music

C+ in her linguistics class

 

The C+ I'll take the blame for.  We advised her to skip the "discussion" as optional.  It was later at night (she commutes and wasn't getting home until 9:00) and in our day, sigh, discussions with the TA were optional. :(  She attended every lecture but was finding the discussion not relevant.  So... we advised her to just skip it.  Later ( about midterm) she was reading something in the syllabus about participation being graded based on the discussion.  By then she had skipped a few of her discussion classes.  Yes, that was a direct five percent off her grade.  Sigh.

 

But she still made Dean's List. ;)

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Sometimes with the ugly numbers it is the computer program randomly generating them. We do allow them to use calculators and if they forget their calculators they can use the windows calculator.

 

The computer program we are using (not aleks, will discuss via pm if anyone actually cares about the specifics) is actually really good. I was dubious but I have been won over. I still don't like having *everything* on it as I would like to see more of their work myself, but they do appear to be learning better than before. 

Not in this case, the teacher is choosing which problems they will work and assigning them. Nothing is just computer generated for it.

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Not in this case, the teacher is choosing which problems they will work and assigning them. Nothing is just computer generated for it.

Are these problems associated with a particular textbook?  Or, are these problems that the teacher is developing?

 

 It seems odd to me that a textbook would consistently have such difficult problems. As the publishers develop more and more advanced computerized homework sets, however, I have found that I have had increasing problems using them in my classes.  It is like they each want to stay one step ahead of the other so they develop more and more complicated problems and homework.  As they have done that, I have run into more technology problems AND more questions in the choice set that are simply weird problems.

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Not in this case, the teacher is choosing which problems they will work and assigning them. Nothing is just computer generated for it.

 

So the teacher has chosen the numbers and every student in the class has the same numbers in every problem of their homework? This seems odd as it makes copying very easy without even the minor safeguards that exist with handwritten homework. 

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Well, just to keep it real. My 2e college freshman has struggled all semester. His final grades reflect that. He had a hard time adjusting and made many choices that hurt him academically. He failed one class, got one B and three C's. And one of those was barely a C. Hopefully, he learned some lessons and can make some changes for the coming semester.

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Well, just to keep it real. My 2e college freshman has struggled all semester. His final grades reflect that. He had a hard time adjusting and made many choices that hurt him academically. He failed one class, got one B and three C's. And one of those was barely a C. Hopefully, he learned some lessons and can make some changes for the coming semester.

 

That is NOT bad for a first semester! There are many first-semester freshmen who end up with gpas of 0.something. Now that he knows what to expect, hopefully next semester will be better! :)

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Ds 20 got an A in Business, Anthropology, Speech and B in Bio w/lab (mainly because he didn't figure out where to take 2 on-line quizzes and got 0's for both-frustrating, but that is learning, too!). He also worked construction 1 full day a week and attended a one day a week full day screen writing class all semester. 

He had the highest grade in the class for Anthro- he was pleased with that. 

 

Next sem he is taking calc, Bio II, Spanish I, and 2 more biz classes -and has applied to go on a 2 mth bio/language program in Peru this June (which will count for 7 more credits- language and science). He is also hoping to transfer to a school in VA by fall- hoping scholarships come through for him- he has taken great initiative this year! 

 

 

Our 24 yo got engaged to a 22 yo mechanic this fall and they are both filling out the FAFSA this week and applying to college! woohoo! Living paycheck to paycheck while working carp jobs has given dd a new perspective :001_smile:

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Are these problems associated with a particular textbook?  Or, are these problems that the teacher is developing?

 

 It seems odd to me that a textbook would consistently have such difficult problems. As the publishers develop more and more advanced computerized homework sets, however, I have found that I have had increasing problems using them in my classes.  It is like they each want to stay one step ahead of the other so they develop more and more complicated problems and homework.  As they have done that, I have run into more technology problems AND more questions in the choice set that are simply weird problems.

I believe they are associated with a particular textbook. I'm not sure they actually have a textbook though. I think it is just online.

 

So the teacher has chosen the numbers and every student in the class has the same numbers in every problem of their homework? This seems odd as it makes copying very easy without even the minor safeguards that exist with handwritten homework. 

No. The teacher has just chosen for them to work problem number 1,5,......, and 33. Only, there is no explanation/instruction to go along with some of the problems. They just have to figure out how to work them. The problems are so different that the tutors in the lab and the head of the lab cannot/or have great difficulty figuring them out.

 

I do have to admit that I am not for certain what is going on in the class or with the book or the online component. I am just going by dd's complaints. She is an excellent student who has done extremely well up to this class. It may simply be that this teacher and she are the opposite of a good fit. I know that when the teacher talks, she makes things that dd did understand previously fly out the window with "what in the world" and loss of understanding at that point. I know the head of the math lab is very displeased with this particular program which has been just been started this semester for calc. and is due to be started this next semester in the precalc and lower classes. I know many, many other (good) students who say that this particular teacher is not very good at teaching. But, I do not know exactly what is going on in the class or online.

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That is NOT bad for a first semester! There are many first-semester freshmen who end up with gpas of 0.something. Now that he knows what to expect, hopefully next semester will be better! :)

 

Thanks for the encouragement!

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My 19yo is annoyed that again, she had an A- in one class. She has had an A- in one class every semester and that has kept her off the dean's list every time. She has now finished three semesters at the unversity and could theoretically graduate in just three more semesters because of the dual credit classes she took in high school. She is planning to double major and do the fast-track to a master's program, so it's going to take her longer than that.

 

My 16yo has now done two cc classes. Her first cc class was English 1301 over the summer. I was really worried about her choosing that for her first class since she is dyslexic and dysgraphic, but she got an awesome teacher and made an A in the class. She worked very hard in the biology class she took last semester and got an A in that class as well.  She's going to take English 1302 next semester.

 

A warning for the poster up near the top who said that Chem II and Calc III are supposed to be easier than the previous courses.

Calc III was definitely an easier course than Calc I or Calc II, but my dh and I ended up with an awful teacher for that class, so we both ended up with Cs even though we had As in all our other math classes.

Chem II stomped me into the ground. I had the same fantastic teacher for Chem II that I had had for Chem I, but Chem II was exponentially more difficult. I managed to scrape out a B in that course, but it was by the skin of my teeth.

 

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This past semester was the first tough one my son has had.  They also changed the GPA and added plus and minuses which had all the students in an uproarand my son disappointed that he got A- instead of an A in several classes. ( A is 4, A- is 3.7, B+ 3.5, B 3, B- 2.6)

 

He got an A in Economics, an A- in Great Texts ( which disappointed him...), B+ in Linear Algebra ( He found it MUCH tougher than Calc I and II.  He went in for help several times. ) and  B in one computer programming class that was really tough with a prof that was difficult and then the grade he was most proud of an A in his junior level programming class. He worked his tail off for that class.  The prof asked him to write a few words to tell other students how to prepare to get an A.

 

Next semester he had 10 hours of computer science classes, Calc III and British Lit, so I'm not sure it will get any easier. I'm proud of him, though he was a little disappointed in his GPA.  However, many people in his freshman class that started as computer science have now changed, so I think he is doing just fine.

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Side note to your post - I was really surprised to see pluses and minuses on Ana's grades.

 

And offering an A+ is optional? One class offered an A+ for 98 and above but still only a 4.0 but an A- is no longer a 4.

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Side note to your post - I was really surprised to see pluses and minuses on Ana's grades. And offering an A+ is optional? One class offered an A+ for 98 and above but still only a 4.0 but an A- is no longer a 4.

 

I'm surprised to see schools doing that. I thought most just did straight letter grades, mine does, which makes it a little nerve wracking when you have a 89.7 going into the final test (had that last semester). 

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One of my son's schools does pluses and minuses, and the other son's school does not. I was surprised at the one that did. I didn't realize colleges did that.

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All three of my guy's schools do +/- as did my college many, many moons ago.  I wasn't really aware that there were schools that didn't.

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They also changed the GPA and added plus and minuses which had all the students in an uproarand my son disappointed that he got A- instead of an A in several classes. ( A is 4, A- is 3.7, B+ 3.5, B 3, B- 2.6)

 

My school switched half way through on me (early 80's).  I remember not being happy about it.

 

It sounds to me like your ds is doing well.  I started out in the college of engineering in computer science.  I couldn't hack it, though, and switched to the college of arts & sciences with a double major in math and computer studies.  My GPA didn't make it over 3.0 until basically my last year.

 

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My ds's school is also on the +/- system. Also, an A+ earns a 4.3, not just a 4.0.

 

At dd's school an A+ just earns a 4.0, but a B+ earns a 3.33.  Crazy, huh?

She did two years at our community college where they just had straight letter grades so the grade scale with + and - took some getting used to!  

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At dd's school an A+ just earns a 4.0, but a B+ earns a 3.33. Crazy, huh?

She did two years at our community college where they just had straight letter grades so the grade scale with + and - took some getting used to!

I didn't realize they did it until ds told me he would be making a 4.2something. I didn't know any universities did a +/- system. It is not a system I am at all familiar with and do wonder about how it will play out for him long term.

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My dd's school is on a +/- system. An A+ and an A both count for 4.0, but an A- is 3.67 and a B+ is 3.33.

Many teachers don't bother with A+ since it counts the same as an A, but my dd still likes to see them on her transcript. None of her teachers did A+ this semester although she had 98+ in two of her classes.

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I have a good report from my son's first semester. His grades were quite favorable, with a GPA that should qualify him for dean's list. I am so glad to see that he is continuing to thrive in his areas of strength. Next semester will be busy, but my next bit of concern is ds's summer plans. He hasn't made any yet, but I'm hoping he can come up with employment or an internship related to his major field.

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My dd is a dual enrollment student and was taking 7 credits in the fall.  SHe is very relieved at her grades of A for Chem lab, A- for Chemistry and A- for SPanish.  Now with talk about computer problems-  she would have gotten a straight out A if not A+  in chemistry if not for the computer problems.  As a result, she is not applying to colleges that use such programs for teaching math or science or doing homework for them.  She had no problems in using the language computer program but the chemistry one was atrocious.  Oh and we knew she wouldn't get an a straight out A in Spanish-  she is dyslexic and the disability coordinator was very surprised that she was even attempting a language.  So yes, her problems with Spanish were dyslexic based and didn't really affect her knowledge of Spanish, which she learned very well but mainly her spelling in Spanish- while better than in English-kept dropping her grades down on quizzes and tests to the A- region.

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My dd is a dual enrollment student and was taking 7 credits in the fall.  SHe is very relieved at her grades of A for Chem lab, A- for Chemistry and A- for SPanish.  Now with talk about computer problems-  she would have gotten a straight out A if not A+  in chemistry if not for the computer problems.  As a result, she is not applying to colleges that use such programs for teaching math or science or doing homework for them.  She had no problems in using the language computer program but the chemistry one was atrocious.  Oh and we knew she wouldn't get an a straight out A in Spanish-  she is dyslexic and the disability coordinator was very surprised that she was even attempting a language.  So yes, her problems with Spanish were dyslexic based and didn't really affect her knowledge of Spanish, which she learned very well but mainly her spelling in Spanish- while better than in English-kept dropping her grades down on quizzes and tests to the A- region.

What type of computer problems did she have?  In what ways was the chemistry program different from the Spanish?  I am asking because I am reconsidering the use of computerized homework in the classes I teach.

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