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Isn't That the Point of a Weed-Out Class?

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Where have the weed-out classes gone? Why is our educational system allowing students to advance to more challenging classes when they clearly lack a grasp on the basics? Something needs to be done. This thread is a symptom of the problem. There is no reason a student should be in a data structures class when he or she clearly does not understand the basics like data types on comparing Strings. That's not to say there is anything wrong with not knowing Java (or any other language) well. It just means one should not then be put in a situation (this includes putting oneself in such a situation) where the work required is significantly greater than one's knowledgebase or skill level.

I honestly think our weed-out classes should be a lot tougher on students. The point should be to weed out students who aren't ready for the more advanced classes.

27 Comments On This Entry

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Topher84 Icon

30 April 2011 - 01:41 PM
Less Students = Less Money/Funding... welcome to the real world.
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KYA Icon

30 April 2011 - 01:45 PM
Ding ding ding, we have a winner!
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macosxnerd101 Icon

30 April 2011 - 02:15 PM
This reminds me of this thread. It's really a shame colleges don't actually hold people to quality standards. Otherwise, it's just high school where parents can piss, moan, and throw their weight around to get their kids good grades when they really haven't earned them.
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Topher84 Icon

30 April 2011 - 02:17 PM

macosxnerd101, on 30 April 2011 - 03:15 PM, said:

This reminds me of this thread. It's really a shame colleges don't actually hold people to quality standards. Otherwise, it's just high school where parents can piss, moan, and throw their weight around to get their kids good grades when they really haven't earned them.


Parents can piss and moan all they want. Even if they pay tuition grades are a student->university relationship ONLY. Parents can't say anything. All you can do to someone who is doing poorly but still passed is to tell that they should re-take the class or they will fail the next part of the course.
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Topher84 Icon

30 April 2011 - 02:17 PM

macosxnerd101, on 30 April 2011 - 03:15 PM, said:

This reminds me of this thread. It's really a shame colleges don't actually hold people to quality standards. Otherwise, it's just high school where parents can piss, moan, and throw their weight around to get their kids good grades when they really haven't earned them.


Parents can piss and moan all they want. Even if they pay tuition grades are a student->university relationship ONLY. Parents can't say anything. All you can do to someone who is doing poorly but still passed is to tell that they should re-take the class or they will fail the next part of the course.
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macosxnerd101 Icon

30 April 2011 - 02:21 PM
I know. At my high school, parents are infamous for pulling that stunt, so I'm just drawing the comparison for colleges doing what parents pissing and moaning at high schools to do. And in the end, many students still are getting grades they don't deserve. :)
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Sergio Tapia Icon

30 April 2011 - 02:35 PM
Yep, I see a lot of 3rd year students who aren't even aware of value types and reference types. I shudder, SHUDDER I SAY, when I think these are the cats that are going to be in the workforce in less than 2 years.
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gregwhitworth Icon

30 April 2011 - 02:36 PM
I completely agree with you all! I actually was one of these people, that was able to get my high school diploma but couldn't place into College math. So what did I do, I took the responsibility that I slacked off in high school and math builds on itself, so I started all over. They (the college) said I should start at Algebra but I decided to go all the way back to pre-algebra so that I could understand it all. Once I got into calculus I was proud of myself and actually found math to be enjoyable. Does that mean that I was good at it - no; most students were far quicker at picking it up, but I realized that I just had to spend more time studying to get it.
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Sergio Tapia Icon

30 April 2011 - 02:41 PM
Also a pro-tip: Get to know your teachers. Even just talking to them will make your face stand out from the sea of crowds and when he's grading your paper/exam and recognizes your name, he'll remember your face and you're interaction with him and that will probably net you some brownie points.

Social engineering at it's finest. It's the difference between a 89 and a 93 passing mark. ;)
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gregwhitworth Icon

30 April 2011 - 02:58 PM

Sergio Tapia, on 30 April 2011 - 03:41 PM, said:

Also a pro-tip: Get to know your teachers. Even just talking to them will make your face stand out from the sea of crowds and when he's grading your paper/exam and recognizes your name, he'll remember your face and you're interaction with him and that will probably net you some brownie points.

Social engineering at it's finest. It's the difference between a 89 and a 93 passing mark. ;)


Another pro-tip, don't assume all of your teachers are men, that could mean the difference between an 89 and 50. :bigsmile:
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Sergio Tapia Icon

30 April 2011 - 03:12 PM
I don't see your point, how would you assume the sex of your teacher and how would that affect you? First class you would know without a doubt, right?
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TFoSSDQ Icon

30 April 2011 - 03:51 PM
I swear you just perfectly described my Java class haha...ty Mrs. W.
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codeprada Icon

30 April 2011 - 04:17 PM
My java class was incredibly small so we were all good with the teacher lol. We'd all beg for an extention on an assignment and luckily get it. I tried it with my psychology teacher but most likely she was already on to me so the whole friendly thing doesn't always work.
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gregwhitworth Icon

30 April 2011 - 05:03 PM
It was a joke. And these days you never know, so unless they obviously look like a he or a she or they write their name on the board including a pronoun of he/she then I leave nothing to chance. I've had a few female teachers in my day that could of gone either way.
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jon.kiparsky Icon

30 April 2011 - 08:03 PM
Spolsky would say that, as teaching languages go, TRWTF is Java. He's got a point, but I can't say I agree with him entirely. I agree with you - and with Spolsky - that there needs to be a lot more weeding out of people who don't apply themselves. Anyone who doesn't understand the core language and the basic libraries after taking Java 101 - along with the basics of OO programming, debugging your code, and other primitives - really shouldn't be moving on. They should be shunted off into an "IT" track, if they insist on doing computers at all.

All of those things can be had by simply taking a one-semester course and seriously applying yourself to well-chosen programming exercises (and by writing your code for yourself, not in an IDE, while you're doing that). It's not hard, it's just hard work.

I do realize that this would deprive this site of many of its users and force me to up my game a little if I were going to continue racking up "reputation" here, but I'd be okay with that. :)
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ShakesSpears Icon

01 May 2011 - 09:42 AM
It might be that i'm not very smart but my school has lots of weed out classes. Most of them happen in sophomore year(though I didn't have AP credit which was the norm, so i was behind from the start). Our engineering program is very strong; and the CS department is in the engineering school (for the BS).
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RetardedGenius Icon

01 May 2011 - 12:23 PM
At the start of the year my computing class had 11 students, now it only has 5 (including myself obviously.)

I think that a lot of people have preconceived notions of what computing is. A lot of people seem to think that without a PhD in mathematics :smartass: you may as well not bother, others appear to mistake it for ICT.

Whatever they think, I feel that there are a lot of computing and programming teachers that aren't fit for their job. But that's just my opinion...
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Topher84 Icon

01 May 2011 - 01:54 PM
What they SHOULD tell students coming into CS is that just because your mom and brother say you are amazing at Halo and can install a video card, does NOT mean you are cut out for CS. Like I said in my first post, as a college professor/lecturer/whatever you cannot fail the majority of your class. There are things called reviews that students fill out about you and also, there are budget issues. If you constantly fail half of your class(es), get bad reviews, and not pass students on to the next set of classes, your department/university will lose money. Is this right? no, but that's the way the world is right now.
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Luckless Icon

01 May 2011 - 02:35 PM
The only way you can change it is to fix yourself. I spent countless hours of extra curricular studying in my free time to become a proficient programmer. Not to say that I am excellent at it by any means (because there are plenty here to prove me wrong), but I feel that I am extremely proficient with the tools I use on a daily basis and have the capability to learn whatever I need for a particular project or assignment. A broken system where professors are labeled as poor just because they are hard is what we deal with. A favorite professor on my campus has about an 80% drop rate in his CS classes. You WORK for your B-C, lol. You know what though? I learn more in his classes than any other.
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Luckless Icon

01 May 2011 - 02:36 PM

Sergio Tapia, on 30 April 2011 - 03:35 PM, said:

Yep, I see a lot of 3rd year students who aren't even aware of value types and reference types. I shudder, SHUDDER I SAY, when I think these are the cats that are going to be in the workforce in less than 2 years.


On a side note, they won't be around for long. Wonder why unemployment is so high (in the US)? Among many other things, sheer incompetence plays a part
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