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Thursday, March 31, 2005

Needs a B In Class, But is Getting a D

Moebius Stripper at Tall Dark and Mysterious just got done with a half-hour conversation with a failing student. A must read. It begins:

Below, the fruits of half an hour of excruciating conversation during office hours. In the interest of fairness, I present two readings of my pupil’s abysmal performance in my class:
Click here for the whole piece.

At a school I previously taught at, the core finance class had the catalog number "FIN-330". We referred to some students (amongst ourselves) as "FIN-330 majors". One memorable student took it 4 or 5 times before eventually passing.

I used to tell students that one definition of insanity is "repeating an action that has always had the same result before, but expecting a different result this time". Unfortunately, a student who's failed the class once will typically be resistant to changing their approach. Hope is a wonderful thing, but it's a lousy way to manage grades.

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