April 2006

Dedicated to providing information for learning assistance professionals.

Mona Pelkey

How Would You Help This Student?

By Mona Pelkey, United States Military Academy, West Point

The interactive feature "How Would You Help This Student," which highlights case studies, has now moved to the Learning Center Exchange online discussion forum. Check it out by clicking on the link below:


Blaine is a first-year student who comes to you whenever he has an academic crisis, which is often. Midterm grades, just released, show Blaine has several Ds and an F. He wonders what he is doing wrong.

You ask him why he is failing psychology, and Blaine says he hates the class. When you ask about the D in math, Blaine says he tries, and he gets help from another instructor outside of class because his own intimidates him. You recommend that he see a student tutor from the recommended list, and Blaine says that he will screen the names because many of his classmates do not like him.

You ask Blaine about his numerous extracurricular activities, suggesting that perhaps he spends too much time away from his studies. He reveals that he is planning to hide in the library tonight because he does not wish to face dismissal from his volunteer job as track manager, due to his poor grades. Ironically, Blaine says he hates the track manager job, but he loathes resigning, despite his need for more study time, because he says he does not want to be a quitter.
How will you help Blaine to improve his grades?

Questions or comments? Contact the author at Mona.Pelkey@usma.edu.

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