Attendance policy too restrictive

December 10, 2010 Commentary Print Print
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If you can pass a course without going, should you be forced to attend?

That’s a question many students here at OCCC and other colleges throughout the country ask themselves quite often.

Attendance policies are not set by the college but are up to the individual faculty or department chairs to determine instead.

This leads to various attendance regulations in multiple courses.

Usual policy contends that a student’s grade can be dropped an entire letter or more upon exceeding the pre-determined number of absences allowed.

Some professors act on a case-by-case basis, while some only allow students to miss as few as two days over a 16-week semester before their grade will be affected.

Shouldn’t students be graded on what they know, rather than how often they’re in the classroom?

Of course, multiple studies show a negative influence on a student’s grade the less they attend class. Common sense can even tell you that, but the main issue really comes down to a student’s freedom of choice, specifically in the college years.

Chris Vaughn, a student at the college, said he thinks class attendance should be up to the individual and not the professors.

“If the student only attends class for exams and turns in all of the homework … it shouldn’t matter if he or she doesn’t show up the rest of the time,” Vyyres said.

Aside from the allotted absences allowed, many professors institute a policy that if a student misses an exam, anywhere from 10 to 15 percentage points can be taken off, simply for missing that day.

Again, the reasoning behind these regulations is regular attendance leads to student success, but sometimes it isn’t as black and white as professors think.

Many OCCC students may have kids or a job and in some cases, both.

A parent dealing with a full-time job or a child at home shouldn’t be forced to attend class for fear of dropping their grade. Why penalize them if their grade doesn’t deserve it?

This isn’t to say that students should never attend. They should be in class as much as possible.

However, if a student can maintain a grade of their choosing while juggling other responsibilities that interfere with class time, let it be.

We’re all adults. The decision should reside with each of us.

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