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When does accommodating a student just become enabling?

There’s always seems to be a few students a semester that need special accommodation *all the time* and I’m struggling with how to deal with one in particular this semester.

At the beginning of the semester, she missed a bunch of classes because she kept having physio appointments during class time. Then when the first test came, she was in a lot of pain (due to the injury that she needed physio for) so I let her write the test a week later. She failed miserably.


The last test, she simply didn’t show up, but then came to my office a few days later with a doctor’s note that she suffered from severe test taking anxiety and needed to be given extra time. Okay, not a problem, I scheduled her to write the test a week later from that meeting and told her that I’d give her the extra time because she wouldn’t be able to register with our access center (that administers tests for people that need extra time/quiet rooms) in time. The day that she was supposed to write the test, she showed up to my office in tears saying that she hadn’t slept and would fail if she wrote it. I told her that she had to write the test at some point, and so we rescheduled AGAIN for yesterday (over 2 weeks from the original test date).

She had time and a half. Halfway through the test, she came to me to tell me she didn’t understand the test and couldn’t do it. I gently told her that she had to to her best, that she had an extra 2 weeks to prepare as well as extra time to complete it.

She insisted that she studied and understood the problem sets, but it’s clear to me from the types of questions that she asks that she’s just memorizing the problems but can’t apply it (so when she’s faced with slightly different problems under a time crunch, she is not capable of doing them). What she wanted was to be able to do the test over again after having seen the problems (*sigh*), which in high school they probably would have allowed (We have a kinda messed up high school system where students are given unlimited opportunities to do re-do things until they get a good grade). But at the college level...no.

I don’t think there’s much to be done, except I have to prepare myself for the fallout of tears and complaints when she fails. I think that accommodating students is absolutely necessary, but in this case it just feels like she failed and isn’t used to failing and, yes, became quite anxious, but was under the impression that being accommodated would magically fix her lack of understanding. Which it won’t. Sigh...

Blarg, end of semester stinks.

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