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I’m writing to solicit some recommendations for helping my university’s incoming freshmen without much (or any) theory experience.
Here’s our current set-up:
The success of the Intro class has been very hit-or-miss. The fundamental problem is that the students who “test into” the class are required to take it because of a lack of experience – but that lack of experience doesn’t always translate to “needs extra help every week.” Many of the students do just fine with the material on MW in written theory, and don’t really need the group tutoring on Fridays. But some really do need it. And furthermore, there are always a number of students who *don’t* test into the class who turn out to really need that kind of extra help.
I’d like to be able to allow students to drop the Intro class after a few weeks if it becomes apparent that they don’t need it…and to allow students to add the Intro class later in the semester if they do need it. But our registration is a bit restrictive – late drop/add fees kick in after the first week of classes…
I feel fortunate that we have this “Intro” class already on the books – it gives us some structure in which to work. But we haven’t yet come up with a truly effective way to manage it.
Does anyone have any suggestions for a way that we could improve this situation to help our students be more successful? How do you deal with these kinds of issues at your school?
[Logistical details: We typically have between 30-35 students in Theory 1 (one section only), and usually about 10-12 of them are in the Intro class. We don’t have a grad program, so there are no TA’s to help out, though we do have a small number of upper-class theory/comp majors.]
Thank you for your thoughts!