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Discussion Response: Addressing the Needs of Underperforming Learners

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Respond to the discussion #3 below using the following approaches:

1.      Ask a probing question, substantiated with additional background information or research.

2.      Propose means/resources an educator could utilize to address the situation/issues.



Learner Challenge

I currently teach a first quarter fundamentals nursing course. This is the introductory course to nursing basics. The student population can be very diverse. Many students have not been in school for many years and are not sure how to study and prepare for exams. Each week I use a formative evaluation to assess student learning. Formative evaluation involves assessment throughout the course, such as weekly exams (Laureate, 2013e). The goal of formative assessment is to monitor student learning and provide the instructor with feedback to improve learning as well as teaching (Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence, 2015). Formative assessment can help students identify their strengths and weaknesses and areas for improvement. Formative assessment can also help faculty to recognize those students who are struggling and problems can then be addressed early on (Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence, 2015). By offering weekly exams I am able to clearly identify those students who are struggling.


When a student fails an exam I think it is important to meet with that student immediately to find out why they struggled. There are several factors that can lead to student performing poorly. These factors include poor study skills and possible personal problems (Cleland, Ross & Lee, 2010). Many students may not recognize their own struggles and fail to seek support (Cleland et. al., 2010). This is why it is important for educators to intervene early. We need to be alert to these cues and clues so that we can offer the appropriate resources for the students (Laureate, 2013e).

Cleland, Ross and Lee (2010) suggest the remediation process for students who are struggling. Remediation is the process of correcting a deficiency. The process involves diagnosis, remedial activities, and retesting (Cleland et. al., 2010). One we have addressed the student and diagnosed the problem we then offer a remedial activity to assist the student. In order to see if the process has worked we retest and evaluate the strategy.

Does remediation work? I have found it to be very successful. When my students fail the first test I make them meet with me to discuss why. Many times it is lack of preparation or poor study skills. We discuss the resources available to them. I usually send them to the learning assistance center for help with study skills and test taking strategies. I then look at their performance on the following weekly exams. I have found that by the next test they have improved. If they continue to seek assistance by the time the midterm and final exam come around I see great success. Midway through the quarter and at the end of the quarter I use summative evaluation in the form of midterm and final exam. I usually see great success if the student has used the resources. The summative evaluation evaluates the student at the end of the quarter and helps me to assess whether or not they are ready to move on (Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence, 2015).

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