I've been thinking a bit of this comment and the following one:
- "(Look at all the complaints we get about kids who can't combine fractions!)"
- "Because it is not about you. Not about Robbie. But about the student. (This is a classic confusion I see on this board, confusing what is easy/interesting for an individual, versus what is needed for the class."
And I think I just disagree with it. Referencing the second point, rather than making it about me or the student," it's about the class."
If, for example, I'm teaching a calculus course, then it's a calculus course - not one on pre-calculus (which seems to be algebraic manipulation), and it's definitely not a pre-algebra course (which seems to be arithmetic with variables). Not every student has to be in every course or that particular course. But once they're in that course, I feel they really should learn that topic, rather than spend class time doing things they should already know because such things were supposed to be covered in the prerequisites.
With a set amount of class time, you have to pick and choose what to cover. And if I choose to review rather than focus on the current material, then it most likely means other things will be rushed or simply not covered. This results in students possibly passing the course but then messing them up for a future course where the one I taught was a prerequisite. (In effect, I pass on a problem to another teacher)
Ultimately, I'm pretty strict on prerequisites since I can foresee bigger problems if I'm lax on them. I'd much rather have a student do a course later than try to rush when they're not ready. In fact, before registering for a course, students can see the required prerequisites and the minimum grade needed. (But then, of course, there might be the issue of inflated grades)