DS View: Class

ATTENDANCE: Are policies effective in increasing attendance, or are they penalizing students and causing more harm than good?


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While there are many professors on campus that don’t implement attendance policies, some professors insist on requiring students to be in class almost every session.

We, the editorial board, are not trying to criticize professors that have attendance policies. It is understandable professors would believe implementing an attendance policy would be beneficial for themselves and students alike. In theory, attendance policies could lead to improved grades and would reflect much better on the professor as well as the students.

Furthermore, many classes function much better when the whole class is engaged and willing to participate.

In a classroom where half the class is gone on an average day — and the remaining students are sleeping– it can be hard to get enthusiastic about the subject matter. When students have to attend to get full credit, there is undoubtably less temptation for students to skip class.

However, the reality of attendance –and attendance policies– is not that simple. First, many students have busy lives and packed schedules that sometimes require a little leniency from professors in regards to attendance. It is not fair for students to be penalized for their lives outside of the classroom. Attendance policies can make difficult situations, such as the loss of a loved one or illness, even more complicated. Even worse though, such policies can deter positive engagements as well, such as attending leadership conferences. In general, attendance policies make it harder for students to have valid absences.

In addition, there are always going to be students who simply don’t care enough to go to class, regardless of whether they are losing points or not.

In this case, the only students who truly lose out are the ones that are trying their very best to attend every class and achieve their highest possible grade but are unable to come to every class.

At the end of the day, college students are adults who need to deal with the consequences of their decisions.

If a student doesn’t want to go to class simply because they are lazy, the only person who is really getting affected by the decision is the student. Not only are you paying a lot of money for every class you are in, but you will have less understanding of the material you are learning.

Whether you are skipping class because you are preoccupied or simply because you don’t feel like going, the results of your decision are yours to deal with, and there is no need for further punishment from a professor.