I Feel Better

I found out today that of that 21% of American Government students who failed, all but one is on academic suspension.  You don’t get that for failing just one class, so clearly these students were blowing off more than just my course. And that validates my suspicion that I just drew an unrepresentative sample this term.   And that’s good to know.

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About J@m3z Aitch

J@m3z Aitch is a two-bit college professor who'd rather be canoeing.
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15 Responses to I Feel Better

  1. lumbercartel says:

    Why does this remind me of a Dogbert T-shirt?

  2. Lance says:

    I was emailed the results of my students vs. the average of all sections of my course. My day class scored nearly ten percent lower on the final exam and my evening class was slightly sub-par.

    I don’t have access to the overall performance of the students that flunked my course, but I do know that no student whose attendance was above 60% or who turned in over 50% of assignments flunked the course.

    Still, nearly 50% of the students that registered for the day class flunked or withdrew and nearly 35% of the evening class did so.

    I don’t know how to make these students come to class or turn in homework, but I am graded on their performance even when they aren’t even trying or coming to class.

    I may try threats of physical violence next semester. Shoot one student that doesn’t turn in homework in the knee and I’m saying the rest will get it done. I may have to remind them that I have access to their home addresses, and unlimited ammo.

    I take some solace in the fact that this was an anonymous result versus past semesters.

    Perhaps I also drew a bad lot.

  3. James Hanley says:

    I like your solution, Lance, but even tenure might not protect you from the consequences. Perhaps we should be allowed to run it like the military–group responsibility for each member’s performance. “If someone doesn’t turn in their homework, it’s a 10 point deduction for everyone in the class. Police yourselves.”

  4. lumbercartel says:

    Get presigned drop requests from every student on the first day, then hand out an assignment due before the drop deadline.

  5. Lance says:

    I am teaching a 4 credit summer session course. I do my best to scare the living b’jesus out of the students the first class.

    The entire class runs six weeks and if you get behind by a day or two, catching up is like trying to “hop” a freight train doing 80 mph. Good luck.

    If you don’t eat, sleep and breath math every day, all day, you’re doomed.

  6. James Hanley says:

    Best of luck. Perhaps you actually can scare students in math, since so many come in being scared of it, but in political science the only class that scares students is research methods (which isn’t really that bad–the only ones who get less than a C are the ones who make no effort). But getting students to be scared of American Gov’t is impossible–I’ve even showed students the grade distributions for the previous two years, showing that I fail 2-3 students every term, and the likely flunkees still don’t get scared enough to make the effort to be non-flunkees.

  7. lumbercartel says:

    I’ve even showed students the grade distributions for the previous two years, showing that I fail 2-3 students every term, and the likely flunkees still don’t get scared enough to make the effort

    You might get a wee bit of research out of that. Before class starts, show them the distribution for past years and take a survey of what they think their own final grade will be.

    Hypothesis #1: the classic Dunning-Kruger two-part curve.
    Hypothesis #2: three segments: D-K, plus some “I really don’t give a shit” entries.

  8. Troublesome Frog says:

    Lance:

    I don’t have access to the overall performance of the students that flunked my course, but I do know that no student whose attendance was above 60% or who turned in over 50% of assignments flunked the course.

    It seems to me that this data point should be a 100% airtight defense against any complaints that the administration might have about an unacceptably high failure rate. I suppose they could argue that you have some sort of evil mojo that prevents students from attending class or turning in homework, but that’s about it.

    It seems reasonable to assume that going to college will include such activities as “going to class” and “doing assignments.” And I say this as a guy who skipped more lectures and assignments than he really should have.

  9. Lance says:

    Off topic (but it appears our host is taking a post semester siesta): Robert Wenzel, a leading Austrian School economist, was given an opportunity to speak at a Federal Reserve dinner,

    Let’s have one good meal here. Let’s make it a feast. Then I ask you, I plead with you, I beg you all, walk out of here with me, never to come back. It’s the moral and ethical thing to do. Nothing good goes on in this place. Let’s lock the doors and leave the building to the spiders, moths and four-legged rats.

    Here is a Forbes article on the entire speech. http://www.forbes.com/sites/jonmatonis/2012/04/30/robert-wenzel-to-federal-reserve-leave-the-building-to-the-four-legged-rats/

  10. Troublesome Frog says:

    Lance,

    Sorry, but this account read a little bit like Kent Hovind reminiscing about the time he was invited to speak at the Smithsonian and dropped the mic after showing all of those anthropologists a thing or two. It just strains credulity. At minimum, it smells of missing details.

    Looking around, the only other references I can find to it are people repeating the original account. The only other interesting note was this series of comments. Normally, I’d ignore the first post, but it looks like Wenzel himself responded. He does not do much to dispel the notion that it was just him and some guys having lunch in the Federal Reserve building while everybody else was at scheduled conference events. Wenzel’s more detailed account doesn’t really clarify either.

    I did like this:

    As I have told many people, once I was in the Fed building, I was determined to give that speech to the bathroom mirror, if necessary.

    I suspect that it would not be the first such speech to be given only in front of a bathroom mirror.

  11. Matty says:

    Now I have this mental image of some guy muttering to himself in a cafeteria before going outside and announcing “I made a great speech at their dinner”.

  12. Lance says:

    At Wenzel’s website he says,

    “At the invitation of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, I spoke and had lunch in the bank’s Liberty Room. Below are my prepared remarks.”

    So, unless he’s lying outright, it appears to be an accurate account.

  13. Lance says:

    Of course he could have been invited to just the lunch, and then spoke to the bathroom mirror, but then he is grossly misrepresenting the incident.

  14. Troublesome Frog says:

    Lance,

    I was actually thinking somewhere in between. It sounds to me like it started with one person at the Fed inviting a him to speak and the invitation being rescinded almost immediately once management heard about it. Not clear on what Wenzel was told exactly, but it sounds a lot like he arrived with no audience and ended up hanging out with a few supporters outside the official venue.

    Frankly, if what that first poster wrote was wrong, I would have expected Wenzel’s response to begin with, “No, that’s not at all correct. There were at least X people in the room and I had space reserved for the talk.” Instead, he refers to “some economists” who came and listened and handwaves about the circumstances. It keeps reading like somebody trying hard to let us assume that it was something much more significant than it was.

    I also find the stores about conversational asides with these unnamed economists interesting. They sound more like Kent Hovind’s lessons to “a scientist” on an airplane or Thomas Friedman being able to find a cab driver to support just about every position he has ever taken. Working at the Fed and not being familiar with the Chicago school would be pretty weird. Then again, the FRB Kansas City had Herman Cain chairing one of its branches, so I suppose it’s easy to overestimate the standard of competence anywhere.

  15. James Hanley says:

    or Thomas Friedman being able to find a cab driver to support just about every position he has ever taken

    Heh. Friedman’s the classic journalistic joke. Somehow manages to be taken seriously despite never doing anything more than repeating conventional wisdom.

    Working at the Fed and not being familiar with the Chicago school would be pretty weird.
    Well, if you’re talking about the bathroom attendant who overhead the speech to the mirror…

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