I don’t expect my students to remember everything from last semester, but they should remember some of it. When my Intermediate Algebra students can’t do FOIL, they probably blame me. I did cover it, but I should not be necessary. It was taught early in the previous semester. My Calculus II students don’t know the tangent of pi over 4 or the sine and cosine of pi over 2. That was a long time ago, but they still should know it.
I talked to a community college English teacher who was complaining that her students couldn’t write sentences. She was happy with starting on paragraphs, but felt that too many of them came into the course not who weren’t ready for writing paragraphs. I suppose there was some progress from the students’ earlier education. At least the students could write words.
At the grade school level, I can understand the need to continuously go over earlier material, but by the time students reach college, you would think that students would understand they had some responsibility for retaining their previous education. A quick review should be enough. Unfortunately, it isn’t, and the students come in to the classroom so badly prepared that many of us wonder how they passed their previous course.