I lost about 15 students from the course in the hours before the late drop deadline. They did not want to jeopardize their Grade Point Average.
This is of course one reason why none of us pay any attention to GPAs when we are looking at grad school applicants. You can’t tell the difference between students who perform well and those who select easy courses — or drop challenging courses rather than try harder.
None of my education ever involved a GPA. Why do Americans need them? Why does anyone pay them any attention?
We now have a lot of grades in. Currently there are 60 students failing the class, and a further 12 just 5% away from that cliff.
It’s all due to the blogging. Almost all of the imperiled 72 have done no blogging at all, or feeble amounts. They’ve left it to the last blog period. Incredible. Let’s hope nothing goes wrong. Otherwise, it will be a brutal lesson in time management.
What can I do to help? We’ll write to all 60 saying they will fail if they don’t blog (one year, a student claimed he thought it was optional). And I will lecture them in class on the need to start blogging now. If they leave it to one minute to midnight and then get sick, personal problems, computer glitches…
And I will talk about Thanksgiving. Most students figure they will catch up Thanksgiving week. They hardly ever do. Instead, they go home and collapse, enjoy the home cooking, TV and sleep. And then..well, then there are five days left in the busiest part of the year.
The third class test happened yesterday. The overall average among those who took the test was 86% (B), up an astounding 9% from Class Test 2. But best is the distribution. The numbers of A’s and A-‘s doubled for the second time in a row, and now we’ve lost the miserable right-ward skew we had for Class Test 1, and the worrying W-shape of Class Test 2, and instead grown a very lovely left-ward skew. If we can further shrink the size of the right hand tail, it will start to look like last year’s final grade distribution.
I am hugely pleased. Like a physician taking credit for his patient getting better, I give my full credit to my teaching. Outstanding job Andrew. More realistically, I hope this is because many students did seize control of their own learning. One can but hope.
For the record, the actual numbers: A, 56; A- 86, B+, 52; B, 36; B-, 20; C+, 26; C, 15; D, 20: Fails, 8, and no-shows 21. Of the A’s, 24 got 100% on my ask-28-grade-out-of-25 algorithm. No one got everything right (except one student who saw the answers before I caught the computer glitch – at 4am). Four students got only two of the 28 questions wrong.
The no-shows are something of a mystery. Only three of them are people who have obviously given up the class. Many of them desperately need to improve their scores. I wonder what is going on?