Replace Lowest Exam Grade with Final Exam

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I am a sophomore at Auburn University. I am creating this petition in regard to my concerns about the PHYS 1500 class I am enrolled in this semester with Dr. Chikara. I am a hardworking, proactive student who is very concerned about my academic success, therefore I felt it prudent to share my insight with you regarding my experience within this course thus far.

I do not feel as though I, along with other students in my PHYS 1500 course, are being adequately or accurately taught the material, nor are we given opportunities to be successful in this course. This is concerning to me as a student with aspirations to attend a professional graduate program in the future, as not only will my grade in this class have a substantial negative impact on my 3.9 GPA, but more importantly, the foundation of information I learn in this class is essential to move forward in my subsequent PHYS 1510 class.

From attending lectures and labs, reading and taking notes from the textbook, completing Pre-Class assignments, ExpertTA homework assignments and worksheets, the students of this course have worked incredibly hard to be successful in this course. Further, I know many of these students actively seek help from peer tutors, classmates and weekly SI sessions. This effort has not been reflected in our course exam grades.

When we express our concerns and share our studying efforts with Dr. Chikara, she has told us repetitively that we are just expected to work harder; we were not offered direction as to how to be more successful in this course. Our questions go unanswered, and the course material is not explained. I often leave class feeling more confused and defeated than before, and I know for fact other students feel the same way. I feel at a loss, as I truly do not know what I can do to be successful in this course.

The test averages in our course thus far have been a 67, 55 and 57 for Exams 1, 2 and 3, respectively. I understand physics is a difficult course, however I do not believe these failing averages are a reflection of my classmates and I’s efforts being put forth for this course.     

           I truly appreciate you taking the time to acknowledge my concerns regarding this issue. After sharing some insight from my perspective, I hope that changes will be made regarding the welfare of our class. Specifically, I believe that replacing the lowest exam grade from the semester with our final exam grade, given it is higher than the earlier exam score, is a fair solution. If students can succeed on the final exam, more so than on previous exams, it shows they have put in the effort to improve and have actually learned the course material. This is a process used in many different classes, specifically other Physics I classes at Auburn University taught by different professors. I would appreciate your support and/or additional ideas to help us achieve success. Thank you in advance for your time, concern, and consideration.