Poor level of suppourt in college

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Jamesy
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01 Feb 2024, 4:53 pm

When I transferred from a mainstream school and attended a popular/big college in 2006-2008 I remember the learning support I got there was very poor.

Is this normal for a lot of colleges in the UK when it comes to students with learning disabilities etc?



IsabellaLinton
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01 Feb 2024, 6:05 pm

What types of accommodations were you seeking?


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cyberdad
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01 Feb 2024, 8:30 pm

In Australia universities are required to have disability support units. The level of support is contingent on the needs of the individual student. If the support unit is unable to provide adequate support then the student is entitled to lobby the university ombudsman.

However, there are limitations relating to how well resourced the institution is. In my experience physical disabilities (wheelchairs, sight/vision, hearing etc) are better supported than neurological impairment. The latter is difficult to gauge if the requirements for support are legitimate since most of the time it requires self-report from the student.



Fenn
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01 Feb 2024, 9:50 pm

Some colleges are crazy expensive and have supports needed. Some charge everyone the same price but can only provide what the law insists they must, which is not much. A new hybrid model is one where there is better support that you can buy in to. It helps with the conflict of the people and dollars being spread too thin.

Some places may just have people who happen to “get it”.

My son was able to self advocate better when we decided to have him create a written letter of introduction - it explained what his challenges were and what really helped using specific examples of what other teachers had done in the past that really helped. That has made a big difference. We (mom and dad) helped edit the letter but he wrote it.


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IsabellaLinton
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01 Feb 2024, 10:26 pm

When my son was in undergrad one of his profs wrote in the syllabus that no accommodations, extensions, or excuses would be tolerated under any circumstance. Any assignment submitted with a late time stamp, even one minute, would automatically lose 30% of its final grade, and risk not being accepted at all. Extenuating circumstances like "my grandmother died" were unacceptable. He suggested that everyone prepare their work two weeks ahead of schedule, such that their grandmothers could die at their leisure.

I wish I kept a photo of that. I know his name and I wonder if he still has this policy.


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blitzkrieg
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02 Feb 2024, 12:53 am

Disability support in UK 6th forms is known to be generally poor.

A lack of funding in the education sector contribute to this. A lack of funding for any kind of public service is an issue in the UK, currently. But that was even the case back in 2006/2008 (to a lesser extent than the current situation).



cyberdad
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02 Feb 2024, 1:28 am

IsabellaLinton wrote:
When my son was in undergrad one of his profs wrote in the syllabus that no accommodations, extensions, or excuses would be tolerated under any circumstance. Any assignment submitted with a late time stamp, even one minute, would automatically lose 30% of its final grade, and risk not being accepted at all. Extenuating circumstances like "my grandmother died" were unacceptable. He suggested that everyone prepare their work two weeks ahead of schedule, such that their grandmothers could die at their leisure..


To be honest we are preparing students for the real world, Fortune 500 companies don't give their staff special considerations or extensions. Timeliness is mandatory.



IsabellaLinton
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02 Feb 2024, 2:54 am

Agreed.

I don't have an issue with it. I just thought people would be surprised, especially because of the grandmother bit.


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Jamesy
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02 Feb 2024, 7:55 am

blitzkrieg wrote:
Disability support in UK 6th forms is known to be generally poor.

A lack of funding in the education sector contribute to this. A lack of funding for any kind of public service is an issue in the UK, currently. But that was even the case back in 2006/2008 (to a lesser extent than the current situation).



But in senior school the support was very good.

My parents had to fight for me not to be sent to a 'special' school.



Fenn
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02 Feb 2024, 9:27 am

IsabellaLinton wrote:
Agreed.

I don't have an issue with it. I just thought people would be surprised, especially because of the grandmother bit.


My son took a class in “Ethics” and philosophy. He enjoyed the class and felt he was learning a lot. The prof also had a zero tolerance policy for late assignments. It was a 100 percent remote class. The software glitch and ate some homework assignments. Didn’t matter zero tolerance. The lecture s were recorded. My son did well on several of the assignments but had trouble with the abstraction of ethics. The professor responded to his final paper about neurology and responsibility “this is an ethics paper, not a scientific paper or opinion paper” Still not sure how that comment was supposed to result in education. He had a B going into the final but a F for a final grade. Some people are better at grading than they are at teaching. They grade students like some people might grade eggs. They are view students as adversaries. They are not teachers. I would not describe this behavior as ethical. No doubt by some definitions it might be: the behavior was as promised.

Abstractly - learning time management and project management does require learning things like preparing for the unexpected, building buffers into timelines, under-promising and over-delivering.

Autism and ADHD really do correlate to Executive Functioning issues which really do make time management and project management much harder.

As a professional software engineer, I can succeed when the company invests in good project managers. When money gets tight and the company decides to fire the project managers and keep the worker bees and upper management, I don’t do so well.
Trying to work with Auticon consulting now. They have a model of providing project managers and job coaches, as well as IT talent. In the “real world” my management usually wants me to win and tries to help. Some college professors really don’t.

Some “get it”. Some can “get it” if you ask for reasonable accommodations the right way. Some don’t want to “get it”.


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blitzkrieg
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02 Feb 2024, 9:36 am

Jamesy wrote:
blitzkrieg wrote:
Disability support in UK 6th forms is known to be generally poor.

A lack of funding in the education sector contribute to this. A lack of funding for any kind of public service is an issue in the UK, currently. But that was even the case back in 2006/2008 (to a lesser extent than the current situation).



But in senior school the support was very good.

My parents had to fight for me not to be sent to a 'special' school.


I went to mainstream school, not special school, but I hear that special school not only has stigma attached to it, but can essentially restrain a person in terms of their potential by making the work too easyr/not exposing students to more challenging material because they are after all, 'special'.



cyberdad
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02 Feb 2024, 3:39 pm

Fenn wrote:
My son did well on several of the assignments but had trouble with the abstraction of ethics. The professor responded to his final paper about neurology and responsibility “this is an ethics paper, not a scientific paper or opinion paper” Still not sure how that comment was supposed to result in education.


I understand the opinion comment but what is the difference between a scientific paper Vs an ethics paper?



cyberdad
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02 Feb 2024, 3:41 pm

blitzkrieg wrote:
I went to mainstream school, not special school, but I hear that special school not only has stigma attached to it, but can essentially restrain a person in terms of their potential by making the work too easyr/not exposing students to more challenging material because they are after all, 'special'.


Tech Colleges in Australia don't discriminate re: special school completion Vs mainstream. Special schools have vocational streams which prepare students with "moderate disability" for vocational studies.



cyberdad
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02 Feb 2024, 3:52 pm

Fenn wrote:
Some people are better at grading than they are at teaching. They grade students like some people might grade eggs. They are view students as adversaries. They are not teachers. I would not describe this behavior as ethical. No doubt by some definitions it might be: the behavior was as promised.


Without knowing the actual background of this situation I would still posit the professor's student evaluations are sufficiently good enough to maintain his tenure.

For a discipline like software engineering its important that professors have one foot in industry. Software engineering is a fast developing field and professors teaching the field need to be relevant players in industry so that their students are trained in the latest cutting edge stuff. Textbooks therefore need to be updated virtually every year (if they are even relevant in this field?) or else the professors need to write their own workbooks.

Correct me if I am wrong but software engineering graduates need to be ISO certified in addition to having a basic degree so the training provider + education materials also have to go through industry accreditation. Your professor is therefore subject to industry audit of professional training standards which is above and beyond regular accreditation of higher education standards which might be applied to a lecturer/professor of more general fields in arts or science.



IsabellaLinton
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02 Feb 2024, 4:15 pm

Fenn wrote:
IsabellaLinton wrote:
Agreed.

I don't have an issue with it. I just thought people would be surprised, especially because of the grandmother bit.


My son took a class in “Ethics” and philosophy. He enjoyed the class and felt he was learning a lot. The prof also had a zero tolerance policy for late assignments. It was a 100 percent remote class. The software glitch and ate some homework assignments. Didn’t matter zero tolerance. The lecture s were recorded. My son did well on several of the assignments but had trouble with the abstraction of ethics. The professor responded to his final paper about neurology and responsibility “this is an ethics paper, not a scientific paper or opinion paper” Still not sure how that comment was supposed to result in education. He had a B going into the final but a F for a final grade. Some people are better at grading than they are at teaching. They grade students like some people might grade eggs. They are view students as adversaries. They are not teachers. I would not describe this behavior as ethical. No doubt by some definitions it might be: the behavior was as promised.

Some “get it”. Some can “get it” if you ask for reasonable accommodations the right way. Some don’t want to “get it”.


I used to teach Ethics. Was the paper graded by his professor or a TA? I'd be surprised if she graded it herself. Also the bell curve / grading standards are set by the department so she wouldn't have much wiggle room if he were entirely off topic or used the wrong style of persuasion. That being said, your son should have received a grading rubric with detailed descriptors with the assignment, and a completed rubric showing how he scored in each area of the task (planning, executing etc.) Was it a first-year class?

As for accommodations related to disability, they were only considered with documentation from the student's doctor(s) and they had to be approved by the Disabilities department at the start of the school year. They usually provided for extra time during exams, or perhaps an alternative setting for sitting the exam (dim lighting, more privacy, and ability to take supervised breaks during the exam.) I never taught online but I imagine the regulations would be much the same, or everyone would expect to have a program catered to their specific needs. I'm not saying your son expected to be catered to, though. If they weren't available for office hours when he was writing the paper, and that was the only feedback he received, it's really quite pathetic. Has your son reached out to the Chair?


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cyberdad
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02 Feb 2024, 4:45 pm

IsabellaLinton wrote:
I used to teach Ethics. Was the paper graded by his professor or a TA? I'd be surprised if she graded it herself. Also the bell curve / grading standards are set by the department so she wouldn't have much wiggle room if he were entirely off topic or used the wrong style of persuasion. That being said, your son should have received a grading rubric with detailed descriptors with the assignment, and a completed rubric showing how he scored in each area of the task (planning, executing etc.) Was it a first-year class?


Excellent points. especially about the TAs. In my experience TAs are reliant on the professor for guidance and often "wing it" when it comes to marking which doesn't help the student.