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Creating Success for Underperforming Students

Presented to the faculty of Full Sail University as a Continuing Education seminar in pedagogy.

Shannon Kropf

on 7 November 2014

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Transcript of Creating Success for Underperforming Students

“I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.” -- Booker T. Washington
for the underperforming student
characteristics of "millennial" college students
the first week of class
socially oriented
"Chronicle of Higher Education" survey: 44% of college professors report that their students are "ill prepared for the demands of higher education."
Socially networked
Want input of others
early assignments
2006 ACT results showed 49% of high school grads do not have the reading skills they need to succeed in college.
25% of first-time students at 4-year colleges require at least one year of remedial courses.
“Students...often lack solid basic skills and now work many hours to pay for college and sometimes a car...Many students lack confidence in themselves as learners and do not make responsible learning decisions......Having little self-confidence and busy lives motivates many students to look for easy educational options, not ones that push them hard...Obviously, these descriptions are not characteristic of all students, but most faculty quickly agree that teaching college students today is far more challenging than it once was. -- Wiemer, J., “Learner-centered Teaching” Five Key Changes to Practice
Vital to their parents' sense of purpose
Vital to the nation
Youth culture highly influential
Child-safety emphasis
Post-Columbine public school environment
Unaware of "real-world" realities and consequences
Unaware of the need to "pay your dues"
Highly (unrealistically?) optimistic
Feel that they are the answer to the country's woes
Examples of confidence in Full Sail students?
Barney: "I love you, you love me"
Team sports throughout childhood
Collaborative education emphasis
Have you seen instances where you were surprised how much your students desired your input?
Education is a right
Performance vs. learning
Entertainment is not personal or relational
Pushed to study hard
Avoid personal risk
"Trophy Kid" who must succeed
Finances/paying for college
Many opportunities
What are the obstacles that Full Sail students must overcome?
Many great teachers connect with students and teach them in a way that no other teacher has throughout those students’ lives.
open students' minds
allow them to believe in themselves
allow them to do what others have told them they cannot: excel.
All students, including those who are unprepared or at risk, can become lifelong learners.

Significant change requires commitment and time.

Struggle is a necessary and important part of life.

Students must accept responsibility for their learning progress.

Professors should never do for students what students can do for themselves.
Set the tone and climate for your class
How you present course goals, reveal intended learning outcomes, spell out class expectations, and set up ground rules determines the classroom atmosphere
The syllabus is our best preventative measure:
Course policies and information should always be spelled out.
At-risk student may need a printed course syllabus or course at a glance (not just electronic).
Make sure students understand that reading assignments, quizzes, and other materials and activities are important for learning and for the grade.
Have students place all assignments and due dates in iCal or a paper calendar.
writing and expression
Early Week 1 Written Discussion:
Students discuss why they are taking the class, what they hope to learn, and their background in the topic.
Poorly written, incoherent, or unrealistic responses may be an indicator of an under-performing student.
attentiveness and task completion
"Professionalism" Due Early Week 1
Assign a "Professionalism" activity which includes information about the class. Stipulate that clicking that the task is complete indicates the student's knowledge of and compliance with the Full Sail Professionalism Standards.
The results of this activity will show you most MIAs; any students who are actively attending the class and who did not complete this activity may be at risk for under-performing.
reading comprehension
Early Week 1 Reading and Quiz
Have the students complete a short reading assignment. Then give them a short quiz about the reading.
Poor comprehension or writing may identify under-performing students.
the first week of class
Don't identify possible at-risk students publicly.
It's good for all students to hear:
Our expectations
Pointers about how to learn
Where and when help and support are available
Success depends on working hard, using support resources, and putting in lots of time and effort
That their own commitment to their studies is of utmost importance
goal setting
Under-performing students often have unrealistic goals for grades
These goals are often deflated after the first major assignment
Disengagement and despair follow
Attempt to include some "success" assignments
Reduce (but don't eliminate) the stress of evaluation
Include a variety of activities suited to different learning styles (visual, auditory, kinesthetic)
User rubrics for all assignments, and discuss the rubrics in class.
Formal and informal assessments
Use formal (summative) grades like projects and exams
Use informal (formative) assessments in between. This allows students to admit they don't understand a topic or assignment
Make sure all grading methods and expectations are explicitly clear to avoid damaging student motivation
embrace a learner-centered approach
Professor dispenses information, student consumes it.
Student discovers information with the help of the Professor-guide.
Formal vs. Informal
Lecture vs. Discussion
Monologue vs. Dialogue
Performance Prognosis Inventory
Most under-performing students cannot give any concrete steps for meeting their goals
Most under-performing students cannot articulate exactly what it means to "study hard"
Most under-performing students do not use any study or time-management techniques
Helps us educate our students about education
I should pass this class because I paid for it
Helicopter parents
Consumer vs. creator conflict leads to plagiarism
How will the professor present the information? Usually lecture-based.
actively engages the student in the learning process.
Extra Help
Encourage all students to attend tutoring
After the first assignment, require tutoring in a group or with you privately
For students who score below 75% on the first major assignment (project, exam, discussion, etc.):
Ask the student to meet with you privately within 48 hours
Ask the student to bring assignment, textbook, and class notes
Ask the student how they prepared for the exam, and which of the study strategies they used
If possible, identify conceptual thinking errors
Identify lacking study skills, and recommend specific behaviors to correct
Have student make a revised study plan and set goals for the next assignment
Ask the student to write down 5 things they will do differently to help them learn and perform better for the next assignment
Most students who attend private tutoring can raise their exam scores by
up to 10 points
Those who don't attend "show no consistent signs of improvement on the next assignment."
Dealing with Disabilities
Full Sail's Student Success Services provides assistance to students with physical or mental impairments, learning disabilities, or other learning challenges
Confidentiality and student rights dictate that you do not ask a student if they have a disability. It is up to the student to disclose this information, and they should only do so with the Student Success Staff and/or the Director of Student Affairs.
It is the students' responsibility to present the CD/ACD with the letter from
Student Success with an outline of the accommodations needed for the student.
Accommodations are adjustments in assignment mechanisms, not a lowering of the student learning outcomes or curriculum
Student Success Seminars
self esteem
learning processes
redefining intelligence
managing moods and stress
emotional intelligence
healthy lifestyle
mental and emotional health
Not remedial, but designed to help students perform well within Full Sail's compressed degree programs
Help students with acquire tools for building competency
Offered as a service to all degree-program students
Not everything that is faced can be changed.
- James Baldwin
But nothing can be changed until it is faced.
When professors treated students as academically capable and held them to high standards in an
environment of respect, students--all students, even those who were admitted as
underachieving or unprepared students--achieved an increased level of performance.
Posting office hours and waiting for students to come is not enough. In academically effective colleges,
the most successful schools balance academic challenges with various types of support
so that students are not left to fend on their own to figure out how to succeed.
How are learners thinking, using, and applying the content?
Planning Process
focus is on what the teacher will do
preparing the lecture
selecting visuals
deciding on handouts
deciding on the reading
focus is on the students and learning process
what do my students already know about the subject?
what will they do with the content?
how can the students practice what they are learning?
what project and activities can students do that will help them integrate this information with their prior knowledge?
Encouraging and Clarifying Student Responsibility
Be up-front and honest by using personal pronouns: I, we, and you
Describe who will be responsible for what
Don't use "we" when you really mean "you"
Don't blur the lines of authority while attempting to create community
"Though the type of essay
write is predetermined, the topic is not.
have to perform research and properly cite sources.
score each essay according to how well it addresses the `basic features' of that type, as discussed in the text."
Utilize the Online-Network Mentality
Create Peer Networks
Discussion Assignments
Networking Board
Peer Tutoring Board
Community Chat Board
even for campus classes!
Create Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest (etc.) pages for your course. Students (and you) can now interact in an informal setting.
Be sure to adhere to Full Sail guidelines!
Utilize Soundcloud, Flickr,
and similar networks to
allow students to share
links and work.
A top indicator for success in college!
These methods encourage students to be invested through interaction and relationship-building with peers and professors.
Video Feedback on Projects
Allows you to go deep with feedback
on the student's individual work
Custom, Relational Email Updates
Address the student by name
Comment on student's specific situation
Acknowledgment of lacking skills or assignments
Truthful encouragement for moving forward
Truthful encouragement for moving forward
Fun, personal reminders are GOOD
Grammar questions
APA format
Essay-writing and thesis statements
Basic creative writing concepts and issues
Annotated bibliographies and research proposal papers
ESL issues
Cover letters and resumes
Parts of longer assignments
Short scripts: 10 pages or less, to review format and content
The goal of the Full Sail University Writing Center is simple: to help Full Sail students become better writers.
Formative vs. Summative Assessment
Formative: developing skills or knowledge
Summative: demonstrating mastery of skills or knowledge
Full transcript