Do I have to go? The controversy of class attendance
Attendance policies can be controversial, upsetting students as well as professors. Some classrooms have a very strict attendance policies while others have no policies. At GC, it is left up to the professor’s discretion.
Attendance policies are put in place to motivate students to come to class. Students are more likely to go to class if there is a penalty involved in missing.
“I gave up on this policy, in spite of clear evidence that grades improve with attendance,” said accounting lecturer Susan Manrodt. “I love teaching accounting. I do not love managing the paperwork involved with tracking excused and unexcused absences.”
It takes time and energy for professors to decide what is fair and what grade to give a student, regardless of the excuses put forth.
“Here are the types of questions I dealt with every, single week,” Manrodt said. “What type of absences are excused? What type of documentation is required? What is the deadline for submitting documentation of an excuse? Where do I bring my documentation? Is my situation unique? Why can’t my situation be considered unique? How late can I arrive at class and still be considered present?”
Katie Simon, associate professor of English, has an attendance policy set in place in her classroom, though she said that most students who really succeed would probably show up to class whether or not the policy was in place.
This rings true for students like Hadleigh Wilson, a marketing major, who would come to class regardless of the policy.
“I like to know that my teacher values my presence in a class not only because I’ve paid for it, but because they find the information relevant and important,” Wilson said.
However, every student learns differently. Part of coming to college is realizing what works for you and what doesn’t. Some students say they learn better by teaching themselves.
“It should be up to us if we want to attend class or not,” said sophomore Lexi Gottschalk, a marketing major. I don’t necessarily think skipping class is a good thing because you are paying for it, but you shouldn’t be penalized for missing class.”
Regardless of whether or not an attendance policy is in place, coming to class is beneficial, according to a study conducted at Minnesota State University by Kang H. Park and Peter M. Kerr about attendance rates.
The results showed that absence from class was significant in lowering the letter grade of a typical student. Each absence lowered a student’s grade by 0.06 in a 4.00 grading system.
“Grades go up when students attend class,” Mandrodt said.
Photo by Maggie Waldmann | Arts & Life Editor