For whatever reason, I have been unable to get into the student database on campus. What this means is that I have no access to up-to-date rosters for my algebra classes. Because I do not know who is still taking the class and who has dropped it, I have tried to be careful about keeping track of grades and whatnot, even for students who (for instance) never show up to class or missed the first exam.

In general, however, I have been marking those students who have missed major assignments as having withdrawn. I had assumed that if they were going to miss exams and such, they probably were not planning on finishing the course. This seems like a good system to me.

Of course, the deadline to drop classes is looming large—any class which is not dropped by the end of next week cannot be dropped without appealing to a higher authority. This means that I have been filling out a fair number of progress reports this week—these are mostly for student athletes and “at risk” students. Much to my surprise, I am seeing the names of many students that I have not seen since the first week of class.

These ghost students were once enrolled in the class, but have disappeared. This is understandable. Many students are not prepared for algebra, and the course has a very low pass rate. What I don’t understand is why these students have not dropped the class. It requires two minutes of mouse clicking to withdraw. I simply do not understand why they are still enrolled…

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