Unit limitation gives students wake up call

By Edgar Lopez

There were nearly 70 students in a biology class with the majority  trying to add.

How many precious spots were open for the instructor to add? Five.

It’s the same old story. Students need classes, students get rejected, teachers feel bad. Well, there’s a new page-turning twist and a good one.

Although the LACCD will not be enforcing this new rule until the summer, students can still lose their final chance at passing a course if they fail or withdraw during this current semester. In other words, it’s three strikes and you’re out of luck.

Instructors and faculty have been prompted to inform students that some will be denied for failing or withdrawing from a non-repeatable course three times without successfully passing starting this summer. A statewide change will take effect at East Los Angeles College and other colleges in the Los Angeles Community College District.

This change will limit the maximum amount a student can attempt to enroll in a course. It used to be that a student could take a course as many times as needed as long as they withdrew and didn’t fail during the third time, attempting that class withdrawals only looked bad on a student’s transcripts but didn’t cause much damage. However, this new change will limit students from withdrawing from non-repeatable courses.

When a student fails to pass the course in three attempts, whether it was through failing or withdrawing, they don’t have the option to appeal for another shot at it. They now have to play ball in a different league. No longer will the student be able to take that course within the district, which means if you failed or withdrew from a course three times at ELAC, you can’t simply take it at Los Angeles City College or Mission College.

That’s one way of seeing it, but  as a much needed policy that will regulate class registration and provide opportunities to those without priority registration. This policy will thin out the herd and allow other students who have not had the chance the take the class at least once.

A student has three attempts to pass the course. How many more do they need?

In that biology class, which was on a Friday, a not so class-friendly day for ELAC, there were more people trying to add the class than students who were already enrolled. It’s nothing new and it  isn’t only happening in the science classes.  That doesn’t mean it mustn’t be dealt with. After a few weeks, many students drop or are dropped from courses.

Those seats were wasted. Those seats could have helped somebody fill up their transfer or degree requirements. Putting a cap on the maximum attempts to pass a class is a great idea. This policy could give students a little push toward sticking with the class and working harder toward a passing grade.

I’ve failed or withdrawn from courses before but have never failed or withdrawn the second time. There’s never been a need to retake the course after the second time for me. Students should learn from the first time and take tutoring if they failed.

Of course, a lot of students have problems with the infamous math courses. To that, a spoonful of tutoring, dedication and effort could help, along with a few all-nighters.

They should also be aware of the drop deadline which has been changed. Rather than being near two weeks after the census date, the drop deadline will now match the census date, which is two weeks after the first day of school. Again, most students should know if they can handle the course within that time.

If a student fails or withdraws from courses three times, all they have to do is take the class at a different college. The first complaint that comes to mind is the hassle of commuting to a new school.

There are plenty of schools outside of the LACCD. On the east side of the district, you have Rio Hondo College. On the west, you have Santa Monica College. The south side has Cerritos College and the El Camino College, Compton Center. The north has Pasadena City College and Glendale Community College. There are plenty of colleges. They might not be as convenient as the LACCD but perhaps that would inspire students to do better the first three times.

Having three attempts should be more than enough to pass one course. Although the drop deadline moved up almost two weeks, it still should be enough time to determine whether a student can handle the course or not.

Also, the LACCD sent a memo to department chairs and deans explaining how its registration system will pop up with warnings if a student is signing up for a course for a second, third and fourth time. This is a good step by the district to avoid registration problems and complaints.

With this new policy, more seats should be opening up as students are pressured to pass or go elsewhere. This now creates rules for the free-for-all students have been fighting in.

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