No pressure

I’ve heard  stories about teachers who were told to pass more students. Typically, I pass (C or better) around half the students who register for my classes, and I’ve never been told to pass more students. My pass rate is normal for math courses where I teach.

I teach at a community college. We accept virtually everyone who is a high school graduate. Although financial reasons often allow us to have some of the best students, we get all of the ones who aren’t accepted at four-year colleges and still wish to go to college.

Many  students have complicated lives. Classes often take second place to jobs and family obligations. Students who think they are taking classes seriously often don’t realize the level of commitment required for a college course.

It has been hinted that we pass too many students. The common lament is that the students pass prerequisite courses but don’t know enough. I’ve stopped wondering how students get into my class who clearly don’t know the prerequisite material. Apparently, they study for exams and forget everything afterward.

I’m glad I work at a place where standards are kept up, but I sometimes feel sorry for the students. They come to the college thinking they can pass with the same amount of work they did in high school. Usually, they can’t.


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