The story of "Joe" illuminates a problem that has become chronic in
education: The mis-advised student. From the information given, it would
appear that "Joe" should not be pursuing the goals described. I can't
imagine any other area in human activity where a person so unsuited to a
particular goal would be so consistently encouraged. (Here I am referring
to the goal of being a successful businessman -- not the mere means to the
goal, the degree.)

Is there no way we can encourage students with such obvious and seriously
limited ability to choose more appropriate paths? Have we completely come
around to the unfortunate concept that the only worthy educational goal is
a college degree? How sad!

John M. Flanigan <[log in to unmask]>     The equation is the final arbiter.
Assistant Professor, Mathematics                    --Werner Heisenberg
Kapi'olani Community College            The scoreboard is the final arbiter.
4303 Diamond Head Road                              --Bill Walton
Honolulu HI  96816                      History is the final arbiter.
(808) 734-9371                                      --Edward Gibbon

On Tue, 25 Apr 2000, d'Anjou, Sara wrote:

> I am seeking the collective wisdom of LRNASST to find a solution for a
> thorny dilema:
> We have a full-time day student whom I will call Joe; he is around 30
> years old. He started about 6 years ago in our Associate's program in
> Hotel & Restaruant Mgt. and then continued on for his Bachelor's in
> Business Management. He is scheduled to graduate this May, if he passes
> his currrent courses. Joe has epilepsy and other seizure disorders and
> has been on and off various medications for years. His illness often
> impacts his academic performance (in terms of attendance, meeting
> deadlines, understanding criteria for assignments) but many of our
> faculty know him quite well and tend to accommodate his situation. His
> overall GPA is a 2.3 with grades ranging from D's to A's and B's. The
> current problem relates to what seems to be a deterioration in his
> overall cognitive functioning which is most evident in his performance in
> math.
> Math has always been a problem for Joe, although ed plans from his high
> school years merely indicate minor problems with arithmetic and do not
> mention any type of learning disability. Although he is under a neurologist
> 's care, he has not had any recent psychoeducational evaluations. For the
> Associate's degree, Business Math was the only math requirement, and he
> passed that on the first try. The Bachelor degree requires algebra which
> has become the bane of Joe's existence. He finally passed Algebra I with
> a C- several semesters ago after having withdrawn during previous
> semesters. (We suspect that the instructor took pity on him.) He has
> failed Algebra II once and is now about to fail again. I must add that
> Joe is resistant to any type of suggestions that could possibly help him
> with math - he did not take Algebra II directly following Algebra I,
> comes sporadically for tutoring, does not do homework on his own, does
> not follow up on study skills suggestions, etc.
> I have been tutoring him for the last few weeks (I've known him for his
> entire time here) and he has not been making progress. There are problems
> with short and long term memory, visual perception, motor skills,
> linguistic processing, lack of Algebra I background information, you name
> it! I don't see any way that he can pass the course, even in an
> individual format, now or at a future time. Last year, Joe had an
> experimental procedure (some type of electrode and drug delivery implant)
> that according to him "removed part of his brain."
> I definitely feel that his level of functioning (which was never that
> strong) has seriously deteriorated even compared to last year, and that
> the algebra is pure torture for him. We do have a waiver/substitution
> policy but that comes into play only after Albegra II. (Algebra II is not
> a difficult course; many students have covered this material in high
> school.) A former VP of Academic Affairs (who has since left the college)
> had already waived the next course, College Algebra, for Joe (bypassing a
> number of procedures and policies in the process.)
> Joe desperately wants to graduate and get on with his life, and we would
> like to see him walk across that stage as well. Do any of you have any
> suggestions? Sorry for the long post but I had to provide the background.
> Thanks,
> Sara d'Anjou
> Director of Academic Support Services
> [log in to unmask]