Sunday, December 14, 2008

Why Students Need Math Classes



So they'll understand why they aren't passing their English classes.

They can't do math: it's the only explanation I have.

I have two students who haven't turned in MAJOR work. Both have failed to turn in papers worth 20% and 25%. Student Y is also missing a paper worth 15%; Student Z did a paper worth 15% so incorrectly -- as in the assignment was to analyze a personal situation and he instead reworked his first paper -- that I really question his ability to read instructions. They also both didn't turn in a recent assignment worth 5%.

I assumed that they had each figured out that they weren't passing and were walking away from the class as another student has clearly done.

However, now I see that both Student Y and Student Z have gone out of their way to submit a final assignment worth 5% of their final grade.

Do they think I'll have mercy on them and their approximate 35% averages since they turned in this last thing?

Or is it not a math problem at all, but simply that they're unable to read the writing on the wall?

10 comments:

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

Because I know they can't do the math, I have a rule in my syllabus that they can't pass the class if they are missing a "major" assignment -- i.e. one that is worth more than 10% of their grade.

I actually put this in because of the ones that CAN do the math -- but, it works for the math-impaired as well.

Brave Sir Robin said...

I wish I knew the answer to this. I am blessed with children who work hard in school.

I suspect the math might actually be part of it, or why would they turn in that last 5% work????

Bitty said...

Philosophy Factory: I used to have such a clause. It might be time to implement it again.

BSR: Lucky, lucky you! I'm sure their teachers adore them.

I wonder if they're trying to pass through prayer? Maybe God will intercede at the moment I input grades...

(Verification word: voidisas. Somehow appropriate.)

Anonymous said...

Yes, Bitty. The other thing is that we teachers are made to feel that our grading scale is absurd. Can't they read the grading scale on the syllabus, either? We are the only teachers who don't give an A to a final grade of 90%!!!

Alanna in a growly mood....

Philip Barron said...

From what I recall of my own checkered career as a student, I can say with certainty that the problem isn't math - it's philosophy. As in causality and the stubborn refusal to acknowledge it.

Insufficient effort + inattention to requirements --> failing grades. It's reliable cause and effect, and yet students often think they are somehow immune to it. They may also believe in magic.

Bitty said...

They may also believe in magic.

Phil, you may be on to something. This is the Harry Potter generation, after all.

The other thing is that we teachers are made to feel that our grading scale is absurd.

Alanna, I actually gave up and changed my grading scale this semester. I got tired of those arguments. Instead, I made 91 (not 90 for the bottom A minus) a very elite club to join indeed.

By the way, the old grading scale was one I was held to by a number of professors in my student career, so I know it isn't such an anomaly.

Bee said...

Oh, I agree with Phillip! I think it's a bit of philosophy and magical thinking both! Or maybe it's that awful American self-help attitude: If you believe in something (that you can pass, despite the mathematical impossibility), it will happen for you.

Bitty said...

I wonder if they're trying to pass through prayer? Maybe God will intercede at the moment I input grades...

Grades are in, so I can now report with certainty that God answered their prayers -- and said HECK, NO!

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