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Question for LD college students


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Joined: Nov 03, 2005
Posts: 69138
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Posted Mar 14, 2004 at 9:15:05 AM
Subject: Question for LD college students

Please tell me about your ld and what kind of accomadations you are receiving from your school.
My daughter has a major memory deficit. I want her to ask the sp ed people and the professor of bio to allow her to take her final using her notes in the learning center. This does not alter his curiculum (sp) in any way and allows her the accomations she needs. Is this unreasonable?

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Dan G
Joined Mar 10, 2004
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Posted:Mar 14, 2004 3:04:08 PM

Melissa's Mom, I have a nonverbal learning disability and I'm a junior in college. I get extra time on tests and note takers in my class, and I also have a weekly meeting with my LD advisor. When I was a freshman, I had a class called learning strategies, which was for LD students. I hope that helps.

Dan

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Anonymous
Joined Dec 18, 2014
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Posted:Mar 15, 2004 4:53:31 PM

My son has among other issues a reading disability and he gets 50% more time to take his tests.

Your suggestion sound reasonable to me. Good luck with it.

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Anonymous
Joined Dec 18, 2014
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Posted:Mar 15, 2004 4:55:54 PM
Subject:PS

Another suggestion might be simply to request a take home exam. Having taught on the college level, I gave take home exams. The questions on my exams asked students to think about the information - not memorize it. Her professor could write a take home exam for her which wouldn't require her to memorize information but rather ask that she understand the information.

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victoria
Joined Jun 13, 2003
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Posted:Mar 15, 2004 11:54:27 PM

Melissa'a Mom -- I'm afraid you're not going to like this answer, but yes, in this case your request could likely be unreasonable.

There are different kinds of college and university courses.

There are creative courses like creative writing and studio art and composing music. In these classes it is very difficult to avoid doing the real work on an exam (although there are indeed some people who pre-write essays on all the likely topics, and the proctors have to watch out for that one) and so an exam with an open book and all your notes and open-ended time will still be a good representation of your learning. Even there, there has to be *some* time limit, since in the real world you don't have all day to write one memo, but in general it's not a problem.

There are problem-solving courses like math and physics. In these classes you are given a problem and you have to choose among the methods taught in class, apply the method correctly, and come up with a reasonable answer. If the test is seriously asking that the student *do* the subject (as opposed to reciting it by memory) then notes and a *reasonable* number of formulas are not a problem; in fact many professors provide new formulas in the test itself.
I have personally run into a difficulty where a professor was far *too* helpful for three semesters in a row; I was attempting to teach the fourth semester of the science calculus class, and the students were too dependent on open-book and had not retained anything in their minds at all; I found that they expected to be helped with all the material from pre-cal and cal 1 and cal 2 as well as covering cal 3, and sorry, there isn't time in one semester to teach one of those thick calculus texts properly much less to teach four semesters all in one. There does have to be a limit to the notes; you can't look up the spelling of "cat" or the rules for graphing an equation every single time you use them; again you don't have all day to do one calculation.

Then there are subjects like introductory biology or psychology. These subjects involve a very large memory load. In the basic classes, students are learning the basic vocabulary of the parts of living creatures or of concepts of mental function. They are learning how things fit together. Tests in these subjects, by their nature, involve a lot of definitions, naming, identifying, etc.
Now, if you have all your notes and your textbook and unlimited time to look things up, what exactly have you *learned*? Being able to look up a definition is nice and a useful skill. It is also a skill that is supposed to be learned in junior high. If you go on to advanced biology or nursing or medicine, it is expected that you *know* where the femur or the thoracic vertebrae or the aorta are, and a lot of less common things as well like the hyoid bone or the spleen -- you don't have time in the lab or the operating room to pull out your notes or palm pilot and look them up; and you are expected to *know* what the thyroid does, what the adrenal glands do, what normal and abnormal blood cells look like under the microscope -- again you can't just pull out of the lab and look them up.

So basically what you are asking here is that a student taking a very memory-dependent class be given all the support needed to not get anything into her memory. Yes, you mean it as support and kindness. No, in **this particular case**, it is probably not appropriate because you are undercutting the major goals of the course.

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Anonymous
Joined Dec 18, 2014
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Posted:Mar 16, 2004 7:17:44 AM

Thank you all for your replies. I greatly appreciate them. Dan, your accomodations seem to be working for you. I wish you continued success in college. Sara, I forwarded your idea to Melissa. Always looking for alternative testing.
Victoria, I agree with everything you said. I guess I should have stated Melissa is an English Major, looking to teach hs creative writing/English. These are gen ed classes that must be passed in order to move forward with her major.
I will let you know how this all comes out. Again thanks for the input.

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Anonymous
Joined Dec 18, 2014
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Posted:Mar 18, 2004 10:41:32 AM

If you daughter has a memory deficent, I wonder if the professor would not just let her use really organised notes for the test that do not cross the line ethically with regards to being too indepth? For example, Gregor Mendel and the pea pods, this is something that pertains to learning of genetics and is set up like a darn logic puzzle, maybe she could use a template of how it is to be set up and then she could just drill how to do the application by heart? Like being allowed to use a formula in algebra, you can have the formula written out but still need to know how to actually apply the formula. I hope that maybe this helps you. Some professors are nice for those things as long as the student works with the professor and shows that they are making an earnest effort to learn to material.

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