I have a student whose academic performance seems starkly disproportionate to his potential. He is full of interesting ideas and questions and enthusiasm, and frequently talks to me before and after class. I enjoy his company and I was fully expecting that his classroom work would be excellent.
It's not. In fact, he's only narrowly passing my course. His homework assignments are painfully underdeveloped and his test scores mediocre. Other instructors have reported similar experiences with him. It seems so incongruous. I don't think it's a problem of work ethic; he is in his late thirties or thereabouts and is happy to be pursuing a degree in my field (linguistics). I can't shake the sense that he puts a ton of effort into his work but can only get so far. Given the level of our oral conversations, it's difficult to believe how much and how regularly he misinterprets written guidelines.
Obviously, it's possible that there's something going on here that isn't any of my business. But the student himself keeps looking really disappointed in himself and his results, and my suggestions thus far that he simply keep at it and ask me lots of questions are starting to feel useless.
I have no actual credentials in psychology. However, I keep wondering if I should give the situation a little nudge. The idea of suggesting that my student get evaluated for learning disabilities makes me feel like I'm meddling or overstepping a boundary, but I keep wondering if I'm looking at an executive function disorder or even some kind of dyslexia.
Does anyone have any thoughts or advice?