need help helping calc students



For the first time, I am teaching a business calculus class, and I had been enjoying it until last week when I graded the second midterms. The students did mostly well on the problems that were not very challenging, these are not necessarily easy problems, but the students were aware that these types of problems would show up in the exam and had been able to prepare for them. The part that made me so upset is the short answer questions where they were again supposed to know what to expect, more or less, but these turned out to be way too challenging for most of the class. As these were more the conceptual type of questions, I am worried that even though they seem to be able to solve many problems (even ones that are not so straightforward), they are not really  getting it. It is quite late in the semester, but I feel that I really need to do something now to help them understand certain things better before it is all over. Any suggestions?

When I teach things like calculus or statistics to business students, I strongly emphasize practical application.  When the text gets deeper into math theory than is required, I invite the students to skip over that section, and to accept that Isaac Newton (or whoever) knew what he was doing. I think that if your business students are doing a good job solving problems, then declare victory.


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