Vito Prosciutto: Teaching community college math on the road to a PhD.

Friday, November 21, 2003

My first student giving up on a test 

I had a student at the college algebra exam this morning give up on the test 5 minutes in. He only tried to attempt two problems. If I'm really generous, I can give him 1 point (and I will, because I prefer not to have 0 points given for anyone who shows up for a quiz or a test... only once before did I have to strain credibility to give a student 0.5/25 on a quiz).

Before he left, I pointed out to him that he could still pass the class with a C if he scores 80.2% on the final (the lowest test score is dropped). Afterwards, I thought about this, and I'm not entirely sure that it would be a good thing for him to do this. I have no doubt that he could cram and do well enough on the final to get the C, but would he really be prepared to move on to the next math class then? After all, the reason that we require a C to move on at the university is that the classes are meant to build on each other.

For that matter, why do high schools allow students to advance to the next class in a sequence with a D? I think that this is really doing students a disservice. On the flip side, if we required a C to move on, I fear that this could result in a bit of grade inflation.

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