I recently stumbled across an article in Faculty Focus that proved to be an interesting read on how to help students who perform below average in your courses. The author of this piece, the fabulous Maryellen Weimer, sheds some light on how to help those students who struggle in courses to become better learners and more active participants in learning.
She writes, “Unfortunately, all too often performance on the first exam predicts performance throughout the course, especially for those students who do poorly on the first test.” This is then followed by a large variety of attempts to help those struggling students by providing opportunities for tutoring, office hours, study groups, review sessions, and more. Although these opportunities seem like a great way to offer students extra help, often times the students who need the assistance the most are the ones who choose not to come.
Dr. Weimer proceeds to discuss the ways in which studies have shown direct communication between professors and struggling students paired with a request for students to speak with them directly outside of class provided a much needed boost in student comprehension, attention, and motivation in the course. Students who attended these one-on-one meeting with their professors spent time talking through their performance in the course, working on goals they’d like to achieve within the course, and developing changes to implement in how and what they were studying.
These meetings tended to lead to large increases in test scores from their first to second exams, sometimes with percentage jumps as large as three letter grades.
To learn more about this process and the steps taken to help students succeed, click here.
Written By: Jessica Moser