I was talking to a professor recently who told me an interesting theory, that SIU students get all worn out as the semester wears on and stop doing good work. The professor called it "Student Fatigue." "They just don't have the stamina to work hard for 16 weeks, so the quality of work drops as the semester goes on," the professors said. "The quality of the papers I'm grading now is pretty high, but I expect it to fall off the rest of the semester," was another quote.
This seemed like a very reasonable idea and so I have spent a few days thinking about it. At first it sounded pretty good. The students lose focus, just don't have a long term approach, go on a big bender at Spring Break, get behind of money, and so they stop working hard in classes. It is almost like a disease, the little darlings are prisoners of nature.
Another reasonable explanation is the students being discussed just don't study. At the beginning of the semester, there is less course specific knowledge required, so they do better. As the semester goes on, the students needed to work in the material that was taught in the earlier part of the semester, but they didn't do the work and learn it. They had been playing video games and watching TV, but doing the minimum to turn in the papers. At some point every professor starts to see if their teaching has taken root and then the results turn suddenly for the worse.
I think we can all assume that if the normal SIU student is motivated, they are going to get more or less straight A's, because of SIU's current management practices on grades? But, why do so many fail classes they should pass easily? Fatigue or laziness?
Your comments are welcome.