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Is this a reasonable request to make of the school? Updating the update in the original post!


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Dd made a huge mistake. She signed up for the same prof for Anatomy 2 that she had for 1. Last semester, he didn't manage to finish the material for the class. The students had to cover two complete units on their own and take the tests for those units during finals week before taking the final for the class. I told her at the time that he wasn't allowed to do that. But, he is so nice, and it wasn't his fault.........In her defense, there were only two options for teachers, and the other has a horrid reputation.

 

So, this semester, it was even worse. They are only having to take one additional unit test during finals week (which is not allowed...but...). BUT, they have had FOUR unit tests this last two weeks. Basically, they are somewhat covering a unit during class and taking the test the next class period. over 50% of their test grades (and there are no homework grades) will have been during the last two weeks of class. Turns out that this is just the way this teacher operates. Until these last tests, she had a B in the class. Now, she is at a low C. Most likely that will fall after she takes these next two tests and the final. This is my dd with dyslexia. There is just no way she can deal with this huge amount of learn on your own huge amount of material. It isn't fair to anyone in the class, but it is even worse for those with lds. She has very little hope of passing this class. I think I have talked her into going to the dean of the department. If she doesn't pass this class, I want her to request the class be wiped from her record. I also feel like the school should allow her to retake the class for free. Are both requests reasonable? Just the first?

 

 

Update: Dd made an anonymous report. Turns out there is no rule against giving tests during finals week, even though the dean thought there was too! Not following the syllabus for grading gave her the option of protesting her grade, but she managed to pass with a C, so she just kept it. She would have done much better, and honestly needed to, if he had done things correctly.

 

However, now she has been contacted by the school and asked to become un-anonymous. They are letting this prof go at the end of this semester. He is suing based on them fabricating student complaints. Pretty certain he was told he had to keep a decent rate of progress in his class in order to not just give tests at the end of the semester again and was being monitored this semester. In order to share her complaint, they need her permission. She has given it. Turns out there were multiple complaints, all anonymous of course. In fact, they are receiving them again already this semester because he is pushing it all to the end again. Good to know the school takes the student responses seriously!

Edited by Lolly
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You can always try.

 

Some years ago I came to teach a little earlier than usual. The students from the previous class were just sitting around talking, so I asked if I could come in and set up.

 

They gave me an earful! The professor had just fled the scene in a huff. Apparently he was truly lost in the subject and had been all semester. Finally he got made and at the class and walked out, saying, "I quit."

 

They asked what to do, and I walked several of them down to the Dean of Students. I had just said hello to him in the hall on my way in, and knew that he was in for the evening.

 

Thankfully they did indeed fire the professor and brought in the head of the department to finish the semester. It was only about halfway, and so she was able to pull it out. They also offered refunds for the students who wished to drop, but most of them ended up staying. 

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The first thing the department chair will ask is whether the grading has been consistent with the syllabus.  Ordinarily, there is no requirement that a course grade be calculated on work spread out throughout the semester. 

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The first thing the department chair will ask is whether the grading has been consistent with the syllabus.  Ordinarily, there is no requirement that a course grade be calculated on work spread out throughout the semester. 

 

ANd, it has been. Other than breaking the rule of giving a test during finals week in addition to the final. So, you don't think that it will be recognized that having half of the course material shoved into two weeks will be recognized as being unreasonable? I guess they should have been going ahead and learning it all on their own ahead of time. Only, they were told not to consult their textbook because it has too many errors. You are probably right though.

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Is there a class meeting during the week of final exams (in which an exam was given) and a final exam time period? 

 

Do you know the exact rules for exams within the last week of the semester?  I have taught at different schools which have much different rules. Where I now teach there is no restriction on graded material that week (we have to dead days in which no classes meet).  I have taught at school who allow "quizzes" but not exams.  So, some would depend on how it is calculated. 

 

If there is a university policy that was violated, then there is a greater chance for an appeal.  If university policy had been violated, she could request that she receive and "incomplete" in the course and then take the course next semester and have that grade count.  Some schools would be open to this type of arrangement; others would not.  She would need to emphasize that a policy had been violated or that the professor greatly steered away from the expectations set forth in the syllabus--the complaint needs to center around that, not whether she is happy with her final grade or not.

 

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Is there a class meeting during the week of final exams (in which an exam was given) and a final exam time period? 

 

Do you know the exact rules for exams within the last week of the semester?  I have taught at different schools which have much different rules. Where I now teach there is no restriction on graded material that week (we have to dead days in which no classes meet).  I have taught at school who allow "quizzes" but not exams.  So, some would depend on how it is calculated. 

 

If there is a university policy that was violated, then there is a greater chance for an appeal.  If university policy had been violated, she could request that she receive and "incomplete" in the course and then take the course next semester and have that grade count.  Some schools would be open to this type of arrangement; others would not.  She would need to emphasize that a policy had been violated or that the professor greatly steered away from the expectations set forth in the syllabus--the complaint needs to center around that, not whether she is happy with her final grade or not.

 

There is a class meeting to take a test during the week of finals, and then a final during its assigned time slot. It is definitely against university policy. No question about it. What she requests will depend on if she passes the class or not. If she passes it, she won't need to retake it. She won't need to add an extra semester to add in this class. That is why so many of those students you (oops not you, G5052)mentioned didn't take the opportunity to drop the class. As you know, these kids are on a strict schedule to get classes in. In addition, there are financial aid options that can be devastated by dropping a class. Her grade would not be mentioned in her appeal. If she will even appeal it. Her choice would be just to sweep it under the rug and retake it. I am trying to figure out how hard I should push her to appeal. If nothing else, it needs to be reported so that this insanity will STOP. If nothing else, he needs to have someone monitoring his progress for a few semesters. I'm afraid the poor man has gotten too old to teach. I have no doubt he used to be excellent.

Edited by Lolly
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Why is it "not allowed"? Back in the dark ages, I took college courses where we were tested on material read but never discussed in class.

Definitely a reason the avoid that instructor in future courses and be very honest if there is an end of course survey, but I don't really see eye what you or your DD talking to someone higher up would accomplish.

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ANd, it has been. Other than breaking the rule of giving a test during finals week in addition to the final. So, you don't think that it will be recognized that having half of the course material shoved into two weeks will be recognized as being unreasonable?

 

The bolded alone, no, that would be no grounds to complain.

There are may valid reasons why an instructor may spends a lot of time on the beginning of the material and cover the end of the material at an increased speed: the first material may be foundational and the treatment slowed down to get the basics thoroughly and develop tools; later material may be more of an overview, or covered more superficially, or previous preparation makes the treatment quicker. I am not saying any of these are the case in your DD's course, but the argument of a lot of material compressed into the end of the course alone is not sufficient.

Edited by regentrude
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If there is a university policy that was violated, then there is a greater chance for an appeal.  If university policy had been violated, she could request that she receive and "incomplete" in the course and then take the course next semester and have that grade count.  Some schools would be open to this type of arrangement; others would not.  She would need to emphasize that a policy had been violated or that the professor greatly steered away from the expectations set forth in the syllabus--the complaint needs to center around that, not whether she is happy with her final grade or not.

 

Yes, the bolded.

 

Just be aware that, depending on the school, an Incomplete may not be granted because that would required a student to be unable to complete the course due to medical or emergency circumstances that arise during the last few weeks, when it is too late to drop.

 

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Does your daughter have accommodations through the disability services office?  If so, it might be worth her touching base with them about the situation and how best to handle it.

 

If the class is graded on some kind of curve (and IME, nearly all are, whether it's mandatory or not), then it is difficult to make a case that a grade should be erased because the class was taught badly.  However, if your DD is being disproportionately affected because of a diagnosed LD, she might have a better chance.  At a minimum, perhaps they can help her figure out what to do if this sort of thing happens again.  

 

Edited by JennyD
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Why is it "not allowed"? Back in the dark ages, I took college courses where we were tested on material read but never discussed in class.

Definitely a reason the avoid that instructor in future courses and be very honest if there is an end of course survey, but I don't really see eye what you or your DD talking to someone higher up would accomplish.

 

The not allowed is having class (in this case tests) during finals week. That is specified in the school policies.

 

In this particular case, there is no book.  The professor decided to forego using it because, according to him, it is full of errors. Their only source of information for the class are recordings of him speaking that are put up and only accessible after he has activated them for the class. For this next test, they have over two hours of material to listen to and learn. They have two days to do this. In an A+P class, this is extremely difficult. Next to impossible for someone who is dyslexic. It isn't against any written rules, but it is an unreasonable expectation and poor practice.

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Does your daughter have accommodations through the disability services office?  If so, it might be worth her touching base with them about the situation and how best to handle it.

 

If the class is graded on some kind of curve (and IME, nearly all are, whether it's mandatory or not), then it is difficult to make a case that a grade should be erased because the class was taught badly.  However, if your DD is being disproportionately affected because of a diagnosed LD, she might have a better chance.  At a minimum, perhaps they can help her figure out what to do if this sort of thing happens again.  

 

She does have accommodations. He will not curve the grades. It is a possibility.

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So, second request would be a definite no. First request will probably be denied, but we have nothing to lose by asking. Given her disability, it might be accepted. Now, this is IF she will even step up and say anything. Part of me doubts it.

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I'm sorry your daughter is having this problem with one of her instructors.  Unfortunately, these sorts of things do happen.  Back in the day, I and several of my classmates found out in our calculus 2 class that the instructor we had the previous semester for calc 1 was not qualified to teach at that level.  He had NOT prepared us at all for calc 2 but had spent all semester covering topics that he understood.  Our calc 2 instructor essentially shrugged and said it was on us to try to learn all of calc 1 on our own in just a couple weeks while also trying to keep up with calc 2.  We didn't even have the option of re-taking calc 1 because we'd gotten passing grades. . .plus it would have put us behind in our program.

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In this particular case, there is no book.  The professor decided to forego using it because, according to him, it is full of errors. Their only source of information for the class are recordings of him speaking that are put up and only accessible after he has activated them for the class. For this next test, they have over two hours of material to listen to and learn. They have two days to do this. In an A+P class, this is extremely difficult. Next to impossible for someone who is dyslexic. It isn't against any written rules, but it is an unreasonable expectation and poor practice.

 

But even if the professor does not set an official textbook, there is nothing to prevent student from acquiring a book and using it to supplement their studies.

It seems completely nonsensical to learn A+P from listening to recordings of lectures. Students need to be resourceful and get a text and simply pick out where the professor disagrees with the text info. Or get two texts and correlate, to eliminate errors. I cannot believe students are actually relying on the lectures only without taking the initiative to find themselves a book or several - whether the prof mandates one or not.

 

Edited by regentrude
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I read this topic yesterday but wasn't able to respond.  Unfortunately it all comes down to the student -- and whether they used their accommodations and when things were going downhill did they seek out help either from the professor and if no response then the disabilities office.  If the professor was not meeting her MOA requirements then it would be up to your dd to go to the disabilities office for help in getting this issue fixed before the date of no return (drop date?).  If she didn't do any of this chances are she's stuck.

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But even if the professor does not set an official textbook, there is nothing to prevent student from acquiring a book and using it to supplement their studies.

It seems completely nonsensical to learn A+P from listening to recordings of lectures. Students need to be resourceful and get a text and simply pick out where the professor disagrees with the text info. Or get two texts and correlate, to eliminate errors. I cannot believe students are actually relying on the lectures only without taking the initiative to find themselves a book or several - whether the prof mandates one or not.

 

Could be an episode of Ripley's....Believe it or Not!

 

I think some of the students probably are consulting the book anyway. Most are not. They are strictly going by what he gives them to work with. Normally, that is lecture in class. Some stuff, he is just making up his own information. For example, last semester dd was really confused about their "properties of water" they went over in class and came to me. This was something he had completely come up with on his own. It didn't make any sense. I did consult the book that was assigned by the department to the class. I searched other places online. Not there. (Dd sometimes cannot pull the information from a text easily.) I sort of figured out what he was going for, but it was just...weird. She hasn't brought anything to me this semester. Guess what he has been teaching has made more sense. Honestly, correlating two science textbooks would be beyond dd. (She really is just going for an AA degree. She will possibly try to move on for a bachelors after that, but it is a slim chance.) 

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Update: Dd decided to write an email to the dean. All the advice y'all gave was very helpful. She kept to class specifics. After consulting the syllabus, it turns out he isn't following it at all. The syllabus is standard for all of the A&P classes. He is not following the grading procedures outlined. Basically, he is just winging it other than basic content topics. She received a reply within 30 minutes. It was a perfect response. Something will definitely be done to keep it from happening again. (I have a feeling someone will be retiring immediately or after this semester.) This gives dd a good leg to stand on if she requests to be allowed to retake the class and have this one dismissed from her record or given an incomplete.

Edited by Lolly
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  • 5 months later...

Updated update: Dd made an anonymous report. Turns out there is no rule against giving tests during finals week, even though the dean thought there was too! Not following the syllabus for grading gave her the option of protesting her grade, but she managed to pass with a C, so she just kept it. She would have done much better, and honestly needed to, if he had done things correctly.

 

However, now she has been contacted by the school and asked to become un-anonymous. They are letting this prof go at the end of this semester. He is suing based on them fabricating student complaints. Pretty certain he was told he had to keep a decent rate of progress in his class in order to not just give tests at the end of the semester again and was being monitored this semester. In order to share her complaint, they need her permission. She has given it. Turns out there were multiple complaints, all anonymous of course. In fact, they are receiving them again already this semester because he is pushing it all to the end again. Good to know the school takes the student responses seriously!

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I don't have any specific advice about the situation. There are classes where it makes sense to go more slowly at the start and then speed up (I do this in my biology class, where we move slowly through genetics problems because students struggle, and then move quickly through ecology, because the idea of predators and prey does not confuse them). It sounds like the class was possibly poorly paced, though, if they needed extra class meetings and were not allowed to work ahead. It's completely reasonable to expect studens to learn content on their own, but they need to be told what to learn. It sound like the instructor may be pulling information from different books. The properties of water from the first semester is standard material for biology classes (it's been in both the high school and college texts that I've taught). But, if you're pulling material from multiple sources, it's even more important that you either make sure that you get to all of the material OR specify readings for the students to find. It's less of an issue if you choose a book and expect the students to learn material from chapters 1-15 - they can look at the syllabus and read at the pace specified, independent of of the lecture.

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Updated update: Dd made an anonymous report. Turns out there is no rule against giving tests during finals week, even though the dean thought there was too! Not following the syllabus for grading gave her the option of protesting her grade, but she managed to pass with a C, so she just kept it. She would have done much better, and honestly needed to, if he had done things correctly.

 

However, now she has been contacted by the school and asked to become un-anonymous. They are letting this prof go at the end of this semester. He is suing based on them fabricating student complaints. Pretty certain he was told he had to keep a decent rate of progress in his class in order to not just give tests at the end of the semester again and was being monitored this semester. In order to share her complaint, they need her permission. She has given it. Turns out there were multiple complaints, all anonymous of course. In fact, they are receiving them again already this semester because he is pushing it all to the end again. Good to know the school takes the student responses seriously!

 

I'm glad that she did that. 

 

My oldest reported a professor to the dean of students for being unorganized and unsafe (it's a weight training class). He was reluctant, but it was investigated. Her contract isn't going to be renewed.

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I don't have any specific advice about the situation. There are classes where it makes sense to go more slowly at the start and then speed up (I do this in my biology class, where we move slowly through genetics problems because students struggle, and then move quickly through ecology, because the idea of predators and prey does not confuse them). It sounds like the class was possibly poorly paced, though, if they needed extra class meetings and were not allowed to work ahead. It's completely reasonable to expect studens to learn content on their own, but they need to be told what to learn. It sound like the instructor may be pulling information from different books. The properties of water from the first semester is standard material for biology classes (it's been in both the high school and college texts that I've taught). But, if you're pulling material from multiple sources, it's even more important that you either make sure that you get to all of the material OR specify readings for the students to find. It's less of an issue if you choose a book and expect the students to learn material from chapters 1-15 - they can look at the syllabus and read at the pace specified, independent of of the lecture.

 

Lol! The thing is he was making up his own properties of water. Well, he was just deciding some things would be included there. It could be found nowhere other than his own mind, I am certain of that .It was very odd. Granted, the material was in the material covered in class. It was just AP according to Prof. XXX. I was helping her study, and I, who knows a little about biology and anatomy, just was flabbergasted at what he was saying/making up. I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt and find it somewhere/anywhere, but it was nowhere to be found. She did learn the material according to his notes.

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Lol! The thing is he was making up his own properties of water. Well, he was just deciding some things would be included there. It could be found nowhere other than his own mind, I am certain of that .It was very odd. Granted, the material was in the material covered in class. It was just AP according to Prof. XXX. I was helping her study, and I, who knows a little about biology and anatomy, just was flabbergasted at what he was saying/making up. I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt and find it somewhere/anywhere, but it was nowhere to be found. She did learn the material according to his notes.

Lolly, how old is this person? It strikes me that this might be a sign of dementia. The head of the psyche department started doing weird things in class at my alma mater, and after numerous complaints, and students being unable to follow his lectures, or find sources to corroborate some of what he was claiming was standard psychology, the dean finally got involved. Eventually his wife admitted that he had Alzheimers. Sad for him for sure, but not good for the students. He was let go.

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Lolly, how old is this person? It strikes me that this might be a sign of dementia. The head of the psyche department started doing weird things in class at my alma mater, and after numerous complaints, and students being unable to follow his lectures, or find sources to corroborate some of what he was claiming was standard psychology, the dean finally got involved. Eventually his wife admitted that he had Alzheimers. Sad for him for sure, but not good for the students. He was let go.

 

 

I have no idea, but he is definitely older. I do not know him personally. This is a real possibility.

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