I find myself channeling Seth Meyers "Really?" segments from his days on SNL. Case in point:
How long have my students had to read the first 80 pages (10 chapters) of the book? Assigned in chunks starting 2/24. Class canceled last Wednesday (spouse was ill and unable to take care of puppy and 5-year old son) and I emailed instructions to keep reading and be prepared for class today (they also had an essay to finish and upload by 11:00 pm Sunday night).
Today in the first class, 12/24 (50%) were present and prepared for the small group work on analyzing pairs of chapters. In the second class, 14/23 (60%). Between the two sections, I sent 13 students on their way to read and complete the day's group worksheet on their own (I'll give them half credit if they show up next class with it done).
They had 2 weeks to read 80 pages, and the paper (4 pages) has been done in stages over the last 3 weeks, including a full rough draft due a week ago for peer workshop. Eight students were absent, and 5 showed up with 2 pages.
I know I'm at an open access institution, but how much more am I supposed to dumb this down?
Do they really expect to get through 4 years of college doing nothing?
Seven of the DNRs (Did Not Reads) are currently failing and three more are in the D range. Only three of the DNRs are currently earning a passing grade, and they're all in the C range.
I have a bunch of low-stakes assessments designed to help them get their feet under them at the start of the semester, because once we get to this point, we're shifting toward all-out sprint. They have another paper coming, plus a major research project with many moving parts (and that comprises about a third of their final grades). They're not doing the low-stakes assessments, the ones recommended by current pedagogy and designed to help them find and catch their mistakes before they turn in the high-stakes stuff. The ones that, taken together, as stated on the syllabus, equal a paper grade.
What else am I supposed to do? Everyone at my institution is screaming about retention rates, and I'm sitting here in my office going, Why would we want to retain these people?