Is there a link between midterm grades and dropouts?

Zoe Deno
Staff Writer

img_1109Isaac Kautz|The Hudsonian

Students discuss if they think midterm grades might cause students to drop classes.

“I’ve been in classes where over half of the class has dropped out,” said Ashley Berry, a liberal arts major.

According to Dennis Kennedy, director of communications and marketing, midterms do not usually cause students to completely drop out of college.

“In fall 2015, we had 10 students withdraw during the week midterm grades were released. In spring 2016, we had 11 students withdraw during the week midterm grades were released. Based on a quick look at the data, it does not appear that the midterm grade is prompting students to withdraw immediately,” he said.

“Harder classes like calculus and my business law class have definitely seen a good amount of kids drop. My calculus class at the beginning was 15, now it is only eight kids; which to begin with was not a lot of kids. With my business law class it was 30 and now it is only 22,” said Tom Bulogn, a business major. “Other than that my three other classes have remained at a constant.”

Berry said that she noticed the absence of students mostly in her sociology and science classes. Individual studies major Vernessa Mitchell noted the lack students still attending her anatomy and physiology class.

“I think [the dropout rate] has to do with the way some of the syllabus’ fall for the class,” said Adrian Avallone, an engineering science major. “The opinion is that the first test is the hardest, so students who may not have done as well on the first exam will get their midterm grade, and it might be an F because it is the only grade of the segment we’ve had so far.”

Avallone continued, “The midterm [comes, and] you have a D or you have a F. It’s like ‘Oh, maybe this isn’t for me.’ I think that can help fuel kids to drop out.”

Avallone did say that he knew it was possible to turn a bad midterm grade around because he had done it himself. “I kinda looked at the syllabus and said, ‘The lowest test is dropped anyway; I’m going to keep doing what I was doing and and work a little bit harder.’ I spend most Saturdays in the LAC.”

“I personally think their should not be [a correlation between dropouts and midterms],” said Mitchell. “If you are here because you really want to learn and you really put forth the effort and the time into learning and come down to the learning center and invest the time, then there won’t be a correlation between midterms and dropouts. This is because you prepared yourself, so that when midterm comes, you have just shown them what you have been doing all along.”

Ali Alcloyaw, a biological science major, had a different perspective. “Some students drop because they cannot do it. So it is better to drop before it is too late. You know, it will affect your GPA.” He went on to describe how a bad GPA will affect you when you are trying to apply for grad school.

“The midterm is a deciding factor for a lot of students for whether they are going to be successful in the program or not. In the middle of the semester, you notice that a lot of kids stop coming because they decide that the class is either not for them,not what they wanted or it’s too much for them for their schedule,” said Ericka Tessitore, a sonography major.

“I actually dropped a class last year, which I am repeating this year,” Tessitore said. “I had a difficult time with the teacher, and her tests were very difficult. About halfway through the semester, I had to drop it because I didn’t want to get an F.”

“Certain students might not have the momentum or the upbeat pace to keep up if they already are doing bad on their midterm,” said Bulgon. “Whereas, if certain students like myself are doing alright at midterms, they already have the momentum. They are doing good so they want to keep going.”

“If you are already deep into a slump it’s hard to get out of it,” he continued.

Alcloyaw suggested that dropping a class can be beneficial so you can be better prepared to take it in the future.

“If you can’t do [a class] now, maybe [you can] some other time,” said Alcloyaw. “I had to drop Math 150 because I’m not good at math. I retook it in the summer, and I did good.”

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