“I didn’t do well in the first part of this course sequence,” a student tells me. “I have no idea why I got such a low grade, though.”
“Who was your instructor in that course?” I ask.
“Oh, it was. . . erm. . . some woman, I guess?” the student wonders aloud. “Oh, I remember. I think it was some Latin chick. Or not?”
“Which chapters in the textbook did you cover?”
“Chapters? Erm. . . like. . . I don’t know. A few of them? I have no idea.”
“Did you attend the conversations hours?”
“The. . . what? I’m not sure.”
“Did you complete all of your lab work?”
“Was there lab work? I’m not sure I remember.”
“You missed the first week of this semester. Was there a reason for that?”
“Oh, I forgot when the semester was supposed to begin. I thought it was this week.”
Yes, it’s a complete mystery why this student didn’t do well in the course.