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How long after classes start should adds be allowed?

Started by marshwiggle, January 18, 2024, 06:22:22 AM

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marshwiggle

Quote from: mythbuster on January 19, 2024, 09:23:58 AMWe have pointed this out to any admin who cares to listen. They all nod in sympathy and then tell us to "work our magic" as teachers. URGH!

These admins have the same magical thinking as the students who show up in the last week of classes having blown off much or all of the term now looking for the "shortcut" to learning the course material.

THE EXISTING SCHEDULE OF LECTURES, ASSIGNMENTS, QUIZZES, ETC. IS THE SHORTCUT!
It takes so little to be above average.

RatGuy

I seem to recall a post from Polly on the old fora providing evidence that students who enroll late (for whatever reason) fundamentally do more poorly (for the same reasons) than students enrolled on Day 1. Anyone remember that or have the link to her study?

Ruralguy

Perhaps psychology types could comment but I would think that enrolling late for classes would tend to correlate negatively with conscientiousness and conscientiousness correlates positively with grades So it wouldn't surprise me that overall, as long as one had a meaningful sample, late adders would get lower grades either overall or specifically in the courses they add late.

bio-nonymous

At our place classes start on Monday and then that Friday at 5pm is the last drop/add date. I was surprised to see they only got 5 days (I don't teach undergrads so I am out of touch a bit), but that makes me feel pretty good about the powers that be here. As everyone says, 2 weeks can be a tough upward battle to try to catch up, particularly if they can't understand what is going on in class until they do catch up (think organic chemistry or the like...).

FishProf

In my department, we have a lab intensive class where the labs are 2x weekly, and you can only miss three before you fail the course.  I've seen students add at the end of week two, having already failed the course.  It should not be allowed, but the adminicritters won't listen.
I'd rather have questions I can't answer, than answers I can't question.

apl68

Quote from: FishProf on January 19, 2024, 01:48:26 PMIn my department, we have a lab intensive class where the labs are 2x weekly, and you can only miss three before you fail the course.  I've seen students add at the end of week two, having already failed the course.  It should not be allowed, but the adminicritters won't listen.

Presumably because the students are paying tuition for the courses that they have no chance of passing, and so the institution is profiting.  The money so wasted is coming from parents, from students' own future earnings (with interest), and from the taxpayers. 

If ordinary voters were privy to a lot of what gets discussed on some of these threads, there would probably be even more skepticism among the general public regarding the value and trustworthiness of institutions of higher education than there already is.  And there would be even more fuel added to the fire of the student loan forgiveness debate--some saying it's even more imperative that we forgive loans to students who've been conned out of their tuition like this, others more opposed than ever to bailing out feckless students.
If any will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it.
For how does a man profit if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul?

jerseyjay

Quote from: apl68 on January 20, 2024, 06:13:21 AMPresumably because the students are paying tuition for the courses that they have no chance of passing, and so the institution is profiting.

For an open-admissions school (like mine), I think the calculation is that it is better to have the student sign up for a class late and maybe (probably?) fail than not enroll at all. For schools that cost more money, there is probably a customer-service mentality as well.

I can think of several structural reasons.

First, at least at my school, students need to take a certain amount of credits to maintain financial aid. Several times I have seen students who would be better off dropping a class counseled to keep the class and fail for reasons of keeping financial aid.

Second, again at my school, overall enrollment needs to be maintained so the school doesn't loose funding. If a student does not get financial aid, they will likely drop out, and the school will face a budget shortfall.

Third, faced with all this, the administration's response is to hope that it will all resolve itself in the end. I suppose that for administrators and advisors this allows themselves to act like (and maybe even believe) that they have "solved" a problem, rather than create one.

And for all I know, for some students, it might in fact work out: I only notice the street lights that burn out when I walk by them, not the ones that remain lit. That said, even if for most students being able to add a course so late in the semester (which I doubt), there are enough students for whom it doesn't work that the strategy should be reevaluated.


Chemystery

Quote from: jerseyjay on January 20, 2024, 06:53:15 AMThird, faced with all this, the administration's response is to hope that it will all resolve itself in the end. I suppose that for administrators and advisors this allows themselves to act like (and maybe even believe) that they have "solved" a problem, rather than create one.

I'd say less hope, more expecting the instructors to magically make the students successful.

Back in the good ol' days (I guess I've been teaching long enough to say that), student adds were stopped the day before classes started.  After that students could only add with instructor permission, even if the class hadn't met yet. 

Later we switched to open adds for two weeks.  Instructors only found out if the students contacted us (some did, some didn't) or if we happened to be checking our rosters or online grade books.  We would get emails from the admin telling us to be flexible with these students.  Somehow that never seemed fair to the responsible students who had signed up for class on time.

The current policy is to let them add for a week and a half (which makes no sense to me at all), again, without notifying the instructor.  Just to be the outlier here, I did have a student add at the end of the period last semester who defied expectations and finished in the top quarter of the class.

Zeus Bird

At my uni, admins used to regularly ignore the add deadline, and I had students placed in my classes halfway through the semester, or even in one spectacular case, after the final exam.

spork

While I fully agree with everything that has been said -- late adds never do well, administrators are often more motivated by the tuition revenue associated with "customer satisfaction" than by amount learned, etc. -- I'll throw out another factor:

In the USA, university curricula are ridiculously complex, filled with meaningless requirements, and as a result exceedingly difficult for students to navigate. University curricular design is overwhelmingly driven by the principle of "force undergraduates to be enrolled as full-time students for at least eight semesters." Students desperately trying to tweak their schedules to fit in a course that they didn't previously select, and that they will invariably perform terribly in, is one outcome of this.

Curricula should be greatly simplified. But this will never happen because it goes against the predominant business model of universities.
It's terrible writing, used to obfuscate the fact that the authors actually have nothing to say.

Langue_doc

Quote from: Zeus Bird on January 21, 2024, 05:28:26 AMAt my uni, admins used to regularly ignore the add deadline, and I had students placed in my classes halfway through the semester, or even in one spectacular case, after the final exam.

That would probably be a violation of state and federal laws. We're required to submit the verification of attendance roster for each course by the end of the first or second week of class, depending on the institution.

Zeus Bird

Quote from: Langue_doc on January 21, 2024, 07:55:49 AM
Quote from: Zeus Bird on January 21, 2024, 05:28:26 AMAt my uni, admins used to regularly ignore the add deadline, and I had students placed in my classes halfway through the semester, or even in one spectacular case, after the final exam.

That would probably be a violation of state and federal laws. We're required to submit the verification of attendance roster for each course by the end of the first or second week of class, depending on the institution.

Yes, it would be.  I know that because I started making it known that I would send documentation to administration and the relevant students indicating when these students were added to the course, also noting our state's verification of attendance laws.

Amazingly, there were no more late adds after I started doing that, and it has never been a problem since!

MarathonRunner

I added courses late when I was an undergrad, and never had problems earning an A+ in those courses. Often in upper years, where my registration date was later than the first-and second-years, so courses I wanted as restricted electives or electives were full. Often people would drop during the first week, and I would then be able to add the course.

I always made sure to get the class notes from fellow students, and we never had labs the first week at my undergrad university, so missing labs wasn't an issue. As it was still the first week of the semester, it was easy to get caught up on readings and prepare for early assignments. Profs knew people could add/drop the first week, so the earliest any assignments were due was the second week of classes. Seemed, and seems, sensible to me.

Not everyone adding late is a slacker who couldn't get organized in time to register. Some of us just found classes were already full by the time we could register (different dates depending on your year and student number, so some years, other students in the same year as me could register earlier than I could; other years I could register earlier). Or I could only get into an evening section but much preferred a daytime one, etc.

I can see how more than a week of add/drop could cause issues, however.

apl68

Quote from: MarathonRunner on January 21, 2024, 04:25:08 PMI added courses late when I was an undergrad, and never had problems earning an A+ in those courses. Often in upper years, where my registration date was later than the first-and second-years, so courses I wanted as restricted electives or electives were full. Often people would drop during the first week, and I would then be able to add the course.

I always made sure to get the class notes from fellow students, and we never had labs the first week at my undergrad university, so missing labs wasn't an issue. As it was still the first week of the semester, it was easy to get caught up on readings and prepare for early assignments. Profs knew people could add/drop the first week, so the earliest any assignments were due was the second week of classes. Seemed, and seems, sensible to me.

Not everyone adding late is a slacker who couldn't get organized in time to register. Some of us just found classes were already full by the time we could register (different dates depending on your year and student number, so some years, other students in the same year as me could register earlier than I could; other years I could register earlier). Or I could only get into an evening section but much preferred a daytime one, etc.

I can see how more than a week of add/drop could cause issues, however.

I remember things like this happening back in the day too, and how students who added a bit late could still catch up if they made a priority of it (Never tried it myself).  It sounds like this is happening more and more at some schools now. Maybe another case of a useful piece of flexibility that has somehow been allowed to get out of hand?
If any will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it.
For how does a man profit if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul?

bio-nonymous

Quote from: MarathonRunner on January 21, 2024, 04:25:08 PMI added courses late when I was an undergrad, and never had problems earning an A+ in those courses. Often in upper years, where my registration date was later than the first-and second-years, so courses I wanted as restricted electives or electives were full. Often people would drop during the first week, and I would then be able to add the course.

I always made sure to get the class notes from fellow students, and we never had labs the first week at my undergrad university, so missing labs wasn't an issue. As it was still the first week of the semester, it was easy to get caught up on readings and prepare for early assignments. Profs knew people could add/drop the first week, so the earliest any assignments were due was the second week of classes. Seemed, and seems, sensible to me.

Not everyone adding late is a slacker who couldn't get organized in time to register. Some of us just found classes were already full by the time we could register (different dates depending on your year and student number, so some years, other students in the same year as me could register earlier than I could; other years I could register earlier). Or I could only get into an evening section but much preferred a daytime one, etc.

I can see how more than a week of add/drop could cause issues, however.

Absolutely, in some cases students may also want to switch from one section to another once someone else drops--a great example is going from an 8am class to a mid-afternoon. In one of our grad programs there is a required stats class that has two sections-- early morning and online. Many prefer the online version for this class, but the slots are limited. Needless to say the students try to wrangle switching from the early morning class if they can. In this case they are not behind as they have been enrolled in another section of the class, but able to better adjust their schedules. I remember doing that in undergrad with the "discussion" section in my physics class to find a time slot that worked better for me when there was a drop.