Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Late Drops - The Cranky Professor

The Cranky Professor: "He says colleges that allow students to drop courses with no penalty long after an initial sampling period, or allow students to repeat no-credit remedial courses, are creating conditions that raise the likelihood that those students will not graduate. They are also are depriving other students of a chance to fill those seats"

The Cranky Professor's post points to a problem at our university - students can drop into the 11th week - it's part of our "family environment". However, it challenges the push for instructors to be challenging since students who don't like their grade can drop the course instead of learning how to stick with something and finish it. There is a pattern among students who consistently drop and this article points to the fact that we're not really doing them any favors. But I can imagine the squawking if students weren't allowed to drop this late - it's traditional after all. We also don't take into account all the work done in teaching and grading by the professors who can't drop students earlier for not doing the work - only for not coming to class and usually these students come just enough to plead not to be dropped for financial aid, etc. And this isn't even consider the costs to taxpayers of keeping that student in the class (thus, in most cases, keeping someone else out, as the article points out) It's nice to have your own perceptions occasionally backed up by research.

Where I am this year, students are allowed to drop without it damaging their GPA through the 8th week (out of 10). THey also don't have to get the instructor's signature. And yeah, they eventually end up quitting.
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