Imagine having a student who understands only 50% of the course content. When you approach the student and tell the student that he/she needs to do better, the student responds: "Are you saying that I should cheat?"
That is definitely NOT the case. There are many things the student can do. For example, the student should try to improve on studying skills, work with tutors and peers, go to the professor's office hours, study longer or harder, etc.
Improving courses success is a sensitive topic in higher education. Some instructors equate it to giving up academic rigor and inflating the grades to pass their students. They tend to suspect that their administrators want them to cheat.
That is also not the case.
It's true that instructors are not solely responsible for student failures. And yes, there would always be students who lack preparation, who skip classes, who miss homework, and who don't appear to care at all. But as educators, we need to continue searching for ways to help students learn better. It is our commitment to the profession; it is our mission.
This post is the first of a series of posts on the topic of improving course success. I do not claim to be an expert, and I welcome all questions and suggestions. The goal is for our school to keep thinking, discussing and taking actions on this important topic. Please join me on this conversation.
Dr. Ben Weng