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Old 10-09-2012, 09:12 AM   #16
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I forgot to mention in my earlier post about my friends flunking their chem class. Most of them took it again and did better. Just thinking about a couple of them...they went on to become a pharmacist and a surgeon.
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:28 AM   #17
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A few things

1. Welcome to college. As your DD is figuring out, college != high school
2. Dropping a class simply to save a GPA is not the right decisions. GPA's don't mean much in college.
3. Will the chemistry dept. allow an entire class to fail? Sure they will. Again, college != high school.

Have her talk to her advisor. That's what he/she is there for. Take the advice he/she gives. Simple as that.
Agreed! And I have to add that although classes are important, in any science course it's the work you do on your own and in the lab that really makes a difference. Your professor isn't the only one teaching you -- there are lab techs and tutorial leaders there to highlight the important points. So your daughter's marks may not be only the professor's fault. I second the advice to talk to the advisor, but she may be missing some of the basics in chemistry and might need to study harder and get more help. Or chemistry might not be for her.

I actually started out first year economics failing on the assignments - I put some extra work in and I got it! Happy to say I now have my Masters in Economics -- it was straight A's after that.
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:36 AM   #18
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Agreed! And I have to add that although classes are important, in any science course it's the work you do on your own and in the lab that really makes a difference. Your professor isn't the only one teaching you -- there are lab techs and tutorial leaders there to highlight the important points. So your daughter's marks may not be only the professor's fault. I second the advice to talk to the advisor, but she may be missing some of the basics in chemistry and might need to study harder and get more help. Or chemistry might not be for her.

I actually started out first year economics failing on the assignments - I put some extra work in and I got it! Happy to say I now have my Masters in Economics -- it was straight A's after that.


There definitely could be some other factors than the teacher, and I haven't ruled out the possibility that there are some good life lessons here. (But aren't they painful to go through ). I know that she can learn Chemistry, but it is probable that she will need to work harder on it. She may decide to hold off on Chemistry until she gets to her 4 year school, or she may take it again at the community college if there is a different instructor. She will most likely be planning a career in Nursing/Animal Science or some other science field, so she will need to get through it at some point.

I was blessed with a wonderful beginning Chemistry teacher and managed to get through 3 semesters of it with few problems. Unfortunately, I don't remember much of it to help her. She has tried to get a tutor, but the school hasn't been able to help her with this.
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:08 AM   #19
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I had a similar (though not quite as bad) situation with my second semester Freshman Organic Chemistry professor. Note that this was 2nd semester, so everyone in it had already gotten through the first half of the course (with an awesome teacher). The replacement professor had just learned he'd lost his tenure at the school and, since he was a foreign national, would likely have to be heading back home. He basically didn't care about us at all. The difference between your DD's experience and mine was that our guy DID grade on a curve. I remember getting an early exam back with 26 out of 114 points and realizing, given the class average, that it was a B grade and I wasn't doing so bad. I had at least 2 friends drop the class after that test.

Should she drop the class. Almost certainly. Should she talk to her advisor. Yes. Sometimes a school will be willing to let an entire class fail, but often they are not. Regardless, they will want to reprimand their teacher if and when they find out about what he's doing to their paying students.
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:09 AM   #20
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I live on earth also but here in the real world (workforce, post-college), GPA's mean just as much as memberships in collegiate clubs.

As I stated above, the OP did not mention anything about scholarships so there was no way I could have known she was competing for scholarships.
GPAs mean a lot when transferring and trying to get into competitive grad programs.

I went to community college and transferred into a very competitive university ( where I am currently) and they required a minimum 3.0 to transfer into my major. Most of the transfers had 3.5+ ( I had a 3.03)

Also, a minimum 3.25 GPA is required for the post bac programs I am applying to ( some programs have a minimum 3.5 GPA)

GPA DOES matter. Is it the ONLY thing that matters...no. But it is very important at this stage in life. Once you make it into the work force, " real life" no it doesn't really matter, but you have to make it there first.
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:15 AM   #21
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I had a similar (though not quite as bad) situation with my second semester Freshman Organic Chemistry professor. Note that this was 2nd semester, so everyone in it had already gotten through the first half of the course (with an awesome teacher). The replacement professor had just learned he'd lost his tenure at the school and, since he was a foreign national, would likely have to be heading back home. He basically didn't care about us at all. The difference between your DD's experience and mine was that our guy DID grade on a curve. I remember getting an early exam back with 26 out of 114 points and realizing, given the class average, that it was a B grade and I wasn't doing so bad. I had at least 2 friends drop the class after that test.

Should she drop the class. Almost certainly. Should she talk to her advisor. Yes. Sometimes a school will be willing to let an entire class fail, but often they are not. Regardless, they will want to reprimand their teacher if and when they find out about what he's doing to their paying students.

Your teacher wasn't preparing you for anything at all. I think you wrote the key word here - paying. We will lose money when she drops this class and I"m not even sure how it may affect her scholarships. I don't want her to be handed a grade, but of course, I"m hoping for a fighting chance.
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:32 AM   #22
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There definitely could be some other factors than the teacher, and I haven't ruled out the possibility that there are some good life lessons here. (But aren't they painful to go through ). I know that she can learn Chemistry, but it is probable that she will need to work harder on it.
Can't agree more.

I am one of those people who doesn't get a lot out of being in the classroom as far as learning the subject goes - actual learning requires me to sit down with the book for extended periods of time and not move on to the next page until I fully understand what was said on the previous page. I distinctly remember pouring over my chemistry books for hours on end until I understood the material. Painful, for sure. But once I got the hang of it, it came fairly easily.

From what I can see, it doesn't seem like many kids today have these types of study habits. I'm not sure why. It's something I'm working on with my own two.
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:38 AM   #23
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You definitely nailed it. And her self esteem is taking a beating. I don't necessarily think its terrible that she's struggling in a class - it hits most of us at some point. I don't even think its terrible that she has a difficult instructor - life is full of difficult people. I just wish it was a little more manageable because I know she can do it. I am wondering if at some point, she should speak to the department head. This teacher is newly hired and maybe he needs some feedback on his teaching style.
She absolutely should talk to the department chair. It will be even better if she can get other classmates to go with her to speak to the department head.

I had a very unreliable professor (an M.D.) for an A&P lab. He had a long distance to travel (so he said) to get to campus and was always late. It didn't matter how late he got to class, we still had to complete the full lab for that day. So, some of us got together and went to speak to the department chair. She listened to us and promised that she'd look into it. Something must have happened because the professor was never late to class again.

OP, I would encourage her to do this. Community colleges hire a lot of adjunct professors. If they are ineffective and inconsistent, they shouldn't be teaching. For core classes, professors have to meet specific academic goals set by the department.

GPAs mean a lot, period. If they didn't, everyone could get F's and still graduate with a degree.
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:42 AM   #24
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I'll chime in and also say GPAs can matter, even in the "real" world of work. Sure, a basic 3.00 or 3.25 GPA doesn't mean much compared to a 2.50, but for a recent graduate that has a 3.75 or higher, it can be a deciding factor in getting a job at a preferred employer.
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Old 10-09-2012, 12:24 PM   #25
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I dropped a few classes and it never affected me but then I didn't have a scholarship to worry about. Other than that, I don't see the big deal.
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Old 10-09-2012, 12:40 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by redrosesix View Post
Agreed! And I have to add that although classes are important, in any science course it's the work you do on your own and in the lab that really makes a difference. Your professor isn't the only one teaching you -- there are lab techs and tutorial leaders there to highlight the important points. So your daughter's marks may not be only the professor's fault. I second the advice to talk to the advisor, but she may be missing some of the basics in chemistry and might need to study harder and get more help. Or chemistry might not be for her.

I actually started out first year economics failing on the assignments - I put some extra work in and I got it! Happy to say I now have my Masters in Economics -- it was straight A's after that.
Absolutely. Google is your friend. Keep in mind also that the getting used to the math and the conversions is a major hump in chemistry. If she can get past that okay, she'll be fine. But definitely have her check her answers on the computer or get some sort of guide (even the For Dummies books are helpful). Chemistry and Physics are not all memorization like Anatomy is. You are applying it now and teachers tend to go at the speed of their class getting it, not by a pre-arranged schedule.
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Old 10-09-2012, 12:54 PM   #27
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DD is in her freshman year at a community college. She took two classes last year and did well, so she went in feeling good about her abilities. She is typically a straight A student - even in the harder subjects, and she enjoys Science.

Here is the problem. She currently has a grade of 55 in Chemistry and this grade is higher than the class average. The instructor says he won't grade on a curve. He does things like teach part of a class and then says "Bye" when he's tired of teaching (and she is sitting there wishing he would teach). When he can't figure out power point, he won't use the blackboard and everybody's lost with his verbal ramblings. The first major exam was too long, so he tells the class mid way through the test that he will only grade what they were able to complete. So my DD slowed down and worked hard on what she was able to finish. When he returned it, he apparently changed his mind and everybody got zeros for the uncompleted sections. From everything she is telling me, it sounds like he doesn't teach.

I think she probably needs to withdraw from the class to save her gpa and try Chemistry again with a different instructor. I think she should first talk with her advisor, the instructor, and maybe even the department head about this situation. I don't think she can trust the instructor to be straight forward with her based on things he has said in the past and then backed out of. My DD just wants to quietly drop the class. Any thoughts on how I can convince her that she should at least discuss the ramifications of dropping a class with her advisor and possibly ascertain if the Chemistry Dept. is really going to allow the majority of the class to fail with no chance of fixing the situation? Or do you think I should just let her handle it the way she chooses?
Bolded mine. I have a BS in Biology and the bolded is usually true of any science class. You have to know the material to get the grade. While my DD was in a non-science major and they were usually curved. I took Organic Chem I twice, once with a D and once with a C, before I took it at another college and transferred that in with a B. If she is college age, please let her make her own decisions and exert some of her indepedence. If she wants to drop it quietly let her. Chemistry is a very hard subject. Does she need it?
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Old 10-09-2012, 12:58 PM   #28
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Can't agree more.

I am one of those people who doesn't get a lot out of being in the classroom as far as learning the subject goes - actual learning requires me to sit down with the book for extended periods of time and not move on to the next page until I fully understand what was said on the previous page. I distinctly remember pouring over my chemistry books for hours on end until I understood the material. Painful, for sure. But once I got the hang of it, it came fairly easily.

From what I can see, it doesn't seem like many kids today have these types of study habits. I'm not sure why. It's something I'm working on with my own two.
Given that they can download power points of the notes, have a lot of fill-in study guides, and are used to test reviews (yes, even at the college level), I think many have no idea what to do on their own. I never thought all that outlining we did back in third and fourth grade would have effected me, but it did apparently. I actually asked one of my professors when they started doing test reviews in college (I was the first one there one day) since I'm so used to be taught from a weed out perspective. He rolled his eyes and said that over the past fifteen years, he's been expected to practically spoon feed the information to students…and that doesn't work 60% of the time.
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Old 10-09-2012, 01:04 PM   #29
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She needs to talk to her advisor about her options. It is possible she could change to Pass/Fail or audit and not affect her GPA.
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Old 10-09-2012, 02:04 PM   #30
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I had a teacher like this once. I ended up dropping the class. So glad I did. I had a couple friends stay in and I don't think too many passed. He was constantly changing the format of the test, adding things he told us NOT to study, and was just an all around jerk. I can take difficult teachers, but at least give your students some respect. I took the class a couple of semesters later and passed.
I would recommend just dropping the class.
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