Thursday, April 15, 2010

Spoiled brats get professor removed at LSU

Disgusting. Simply disgusting.

"Dominique G. Homberger won't apologize for setting high expectations for her students.

The biology professor at Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge gives brief quizzes at the beginning of every class, to assure attendance and to make sure students are doing the reading. On her tests, she doesn't use a curve, as she believes that students must achieve mastery of the subject matter, not just achieve more mastery than the worst students in the course. For multiple choice questions, she gives 10 possible answers, not the expected 4, as she doesn't want students to get very far with guessing.

Students in introductory biology don't need to worry about meeting her standards anymore. LSU removed her from teaching, mid-semester, and raised the grades of students in the class. In so doing, the university's administration has set off a debate about grade inflation, due process and a professor's right to set standards in her own course.
.." Article

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

That is beyond disgusting. What is this world coming to? To think, those kids make up our future leaders and co-workers. And they feel entitled to do no more than basically just show up for college classes.

Anonymous said...

I teach part-time at a local college. When I have an assignment where more than 80% of the students get a "D" or worse, the first thing I do is think back about my own teaching. Did I do everything I needed to do for my students to understand the concepts covered in the test? Did I phrase the test questions poorly? Where I find that the fault is mine, I either make adjustments OR I give my student the opportunity to earn extra points.

Most of the time, though, I find that I DID cover everything -- I can look back in my notes and verify the fact or I can't figure out how a test question could have been misunderstood. Usually, I can look at a question and see the student's thought process and how he/she came to the incorrect answer, and it usually shows that the student had only a superficial understanding of the concepts.

Over the last few years I have realized that many students these days (especially older students) are approaching higher education as consumers, not students. They believe they are buying a degree -- seriously. The attitude is, "I wrote my check, where's my 'A'?" That mentality not only makes the students see instructors as mere service providers, but it also seems to relieve them of any responsibility for learning.

It's too easy for students to blame instructors for their failures in learning. I have lost count of the students who have blamed me for their poor grades -- if I were a better teacher, then they would have learned. But when I point out what we covered in classes, even showing the students in their own notes where we discussed something, the students still fail to take personal responsibility.

I tell my kids that college is SUPPOSED to be hard, and that if they can get degrees without ANY effort outside of class, then those degrees can't be worth much. They still don't get it.

I love teaching students who are interested in learning, who are willing to take responsibility for their own grades. But those kinds of students are getting fewer and fewer. I expect to stop teaching in the next couple of years, honestly.

Anonymous said...

Bill Gates had it right when he said, if you think your professors are hard, wait until you get a boss.

Anonymous said...

Well put, 9:30. Thanks for sharing from a teacher's point of view.

Anonymous said...

It's even worse at the grade school level, which is where most of the problems stem from to begin with - government is not the only place that has lost accountability.

Anonymous said...

My question is this? Was this professor really trying to teach her students or was she trying to make sure many failed her course? I'm not sure, but her teaching methods obviously were not working.

Ten possible answers to a question on her tests? I have never heard of such a thing in any subject or course. A quiz every day at the beginning of class? Never heard of this either.

Did she not realize her students had other courses to prepare for and just not hers? I took college biology and passed, and so did my children, and none of us at three different big southern universities had a professor as obsessed as this one was/is. I'm with the administration at LSU. She needed to go.

Anonymous said...

"Over the last few years I have realized that many students these days (especially older students) ..."

9:30, since we don't know what type of 'local college' at which you teach part-time, i.e. junior college, public (JSU for example), private (Belhaven, Millsaps, etc), Antonelli-type, etc, nor the time of day when you teach at one of these institutions, nor the course levels (i.e. undergrad, grad) you teach, nor the total extent of your teaching experience would you kindly define the age range to which you are referring to when you identify 'older students'.

Anonymous said...

11:26 maybe you should try going to a highly accredited private college then. This would be normal except you don't have multiple choice tests. I applaud her for trying to make the students be accountable. Based on the improving test scores it appears she was being effective.

Anonymous said...

12:00. My point being LSU is a large southern university not a "highly accredited private college." LSU is no Tulane or even a Millsaps for that matter. Giving tests with ten choices for a multi-choice question and giving quizzes every single class period is over the top.

Anonymous said...

I once had an esteemed professor at Ole Miss who would the following after much moaning and groaning by students objecting to pop quizzes:

"Fair is where you buy cotton candy."

And that pretty much ended our griping.

Anonymous said...

11:56, I am sorry if my unwillingness to put my job at risk by including the details you request makes my comment useless in your eyes. I doubt I am the only college instructor with this experience, but I can only speak to my own experience and at a level of detail with which I am comfortable.

Anonymous said...

11:56 - "older students" usually means "over 22"

9:30 - good points. Daily pop quizzes makes students 1) keep up with the reading and 2) show up for class. My medical students and my fifth-grader both understand this.

Ten choices for a multiple choice question sounds very dicey though - anything more than 4 or 5 runs a great risk of introducing a "distractor" that confuses and misleads a student, increasing the chances that a student who knows the material will enter a wrong answer, thus not measuring their knowledge accurately. That would serve to decrease the discrriminatory value of the question (i.e., the likelihood that a student who scores well on the exam gets that question right, whereas a student who scores poorly on that exam gets it wrong). I agree with reviewing a question if everyone gets it wrong [it may have been explained poorly (my fault), was confusingly worded (my fault), or they were taught a conflicting "right answer" in another of their classes (system error)]. If everyone gets the answer right then the question is probably too easy and doesn't separate the students who really know the material from those who are shaky.

Anonymous said...

An education is the only thing that you pay for in advance and then try to get as little as possible from it.

Anonymous said...

9:30/1:06 you still didn't provide an age range to help define "older students".

Anonymous said...

3:25 -- No, I did't. That's one of the details of my employment that I choose to leave out. My opinion is just that -- MY opinion. I don't think I have to satisfy your informational requirements in order to say what I think.

If it bugs you that much, then just skip my 9:30 comment and read what other people have to say. Just like there's no rule about what I have to include in my opinion, there is no rule requiring you to consider or agree with it.

Anonymous said...

Well then that I suppose is your unsubstantiated opinion and, part of which, I find full of shit.

Enjoy. DUMBASS.

Anonymous said...

This was a good move except for the fact there was no "warning".

Anyone who attended college remembers sitting through mind-numbing required electives such as Biology 101 and Music or Art Appreciation. The fact that students that are paying huge tuitions and myriads of other costs to be forced to attend and pass classes that will offer no real benefit to them in the "real" world is a travesty (imho).

Most students that do not specialize in areas such as law, medicine or engineering have very fews skills to offer future companies other than the fact they proved they have enough stability to get a degree.

Ask someone with a Business Degree what class helped them the most when they got out of college. I assure you Biology or other freshman electives will not be on that very short list.

Anonymous said...

Echoing 9:30. Not ALL but a majority of students can't or don't want to read the material and don't know how to take a test.

Solid work ethic is hard to find nowdays.

Anonymous said...

Majority = 50.1%

Anonymous said...

Profs like this LSU character enjoy being a hard ass. It gives them fewer students to deal with.

10 answers to choose from on a multiple choice test ?? What an idiot.

Once I had a thermodynamics teacher who could have failed everyone who sat in his class, but chose to make a very difficult subject understandable, while requirng the best efforts of his students. It sounds like this is about an arrogant instructor, not biology.

Good riddance to the LSU wannabe professor. Now, try being a hard ass in the real world.

Anonymous said...

7:30 ^^^^Exactly.^^^^This professor should have been removed. She wasn'trying to teach students biology. She was trying to make the course as difficult for the students as she could. I might buy a quiz everyday on the required readings, but making students take four tests during the semester with ten choice multi-choice questions? She deserved to be embarrassed and removed, and I am glad, too, her teaching methods were revealed.

Anonymous said...

Well, I can certainly tell who the (cough) "students" are.
Makes me sad that they seem to believe the purchased education theory.

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding!!! LSU is loosing grip on education???? I had a teacher that gave pop quizzes everyday before class for the same reason and you know what, it pushed me to work hard! An you know what else, the hardest teachers end up being the best becasue the pull something out of the student they didn't know that they had!!!

Perhaps the "bratty" student should opt for Junior College!

Anonymous said...

I graduated from college a couple decades ago, but I sure know this professor needed to go. You can bet the ten possible correct answers to her multi-choice questions were more than confusing even to her very best students. No wonder 90% of the class was failing.

She wasn't trying to teach students introductory biology. Her intent was to make the class just as hard as possible so many students would drop it or not pass. I hope she is embarassed, because she needs to be.

I am very glad the Dean of the Biology Dept at LSU listened to the students and investigated what was going on instead of taking the word of some arrogant professor who probably has no life except her job.

Anonymous said...

I have taken 2 classes from the professor in question. They are the only reason I won't graduate with a 4.0 average.

I don't mind hard classes, in fact, I welcome them. I do think, however, if you want to test me on material from a certain publication you should mention the publication on your reading list for the course. Likewise, if we have covered the material in chapters 1-4, and you tell us you are testing on chapters 1-4, I object to finding out that over half of the questions come from chapters 8-12.

All said, she didn't manage to keep me out of graduate school...so maybe I shouldn't care. But I'm happy to see her go.

Anonymous said...

Until I see some examples of her tests, I can make no judgment. Some professors love living the power trip, as if they are a god of their dominion of students and get a kick out of torturing and humiliating them, while not doing their job to teach at least the basics of the material. Yet, this could be the case of lazy kids with rich parents that donate to the University. Who knows for sure? However, the recent post by someone that took her course leads me to believe she was the power-seeking-tortuous professor that hated herself and took it out on students. Hey, previous student, do you have any old exams/quizzes on hand you could send to KF to post?

Anonymous said...

I'd love to see some of the questions on her Introductory Biology exams with ten choices for the answer. I bet the professor sat up at night trying to make the ten choices so confusing that even the best students could not answer them correctly. The 10% who were passing the course probably just got lucky picking answers and didn't really know any more than the 90% who were failing.

I am glad the Dean of the Biology School at LSU removed this "power seeking toutuous professor" as 5:52so appropriately described her. She sounds like someone who would do better working in a lab with animals and not students.

Anonymous said...

This is from another blog and posted by a student at LSU.

"As I've posted earlier, my studious girlfriend took this class. She scored a 65 on the first exam which was ranked as 23 of over 200 students. I talked to her about the information on the test because I am a biology major, and she understood it.

What destroyed the grades of the students in Dr. Homberger's class was the awkward and confusing wording of her multiple choice questions and the sheer amount of nonsensical facts that she expected her students to remember.

She was not removed because her tests were fair and the students were bad. She was removed because her tests were tyrannical and ridiculous and the administration recognized this."

KaptKangaroo said...

LSU best get some real students. Did any of the respondents get accepted to ANY NE school? I'm not gonna give you sights of Ivy League, I'm asking top 50? Waaaah.

Anonymous said...

LSU as a university of learning is right up there with MSU...Aggies.

Anonymous said...

11:54 There are good students at every college, and I am sure there were some good students in this class who could have gone to any college or university including some in the NE. Quit trying to blame this crazy professor's problems on her students. She should have been removed from the class. Believe it or not from what I have read and heard she is an expert on rats.

Anonymous said...

i bet that teacher's former students understand biology.

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