Over the course of my academic career here at Keene State College some professors have enforced the attendance policy and others have not. Let’s get straight to the issue; the attendance policy here at KSC has no place or value.
Every student at KSC has heard this a lot during syllabus week. There is one section professors really emphasize from the KSC attendance policy, “A student who misses an excess of three weeks of classes prior to the eleventh week of the semester (for any reason whatsoever) must withdraw from the course.” If not, they will receive an F for the course.
From my personal experiences, there are professors who copy and paste this quote right into their syllabus about the attendance policy. The main question is, why does Keene State and other colleges emphasize this so much?
Many college students today should ask their parents if their professors took attendance when they were in college. I have asked this to both of my parents and the response has been no.
Many other adults gave me the same response. Their response was something along the lines of, “if you did not go it was your choice, education and future.”
Over the years there have been many debates on the subject of whether or not attendance should be taken.
Some arguments for taking attendance are that students will learn the material, and when students get a job attendance will be mandatory.
However, those arguments do not outweigh the reasons why attendance should not be taken.
A major problem here at KSC is that some teachers enforce the attendance policy and others do not.
Many of the professors who do not enforce the policy are the older professors who think back to their college days when attendance wasn’t mandatory. However, there have been some younger professors who do not enforce attendance either.
One professor who I have had for a number of courses does not take attendance and has said, “Everyone who doesn’t show up keeps burning the one hundred dollar bills.” That professor is absolutely right. While this professor does not take attendance, they know who is there and who is not in class when it comes time for grades.
If a student does not want to come then let them make that choice. One thing that this institution needs to realize is that we are adults here. Therefore, we should be able to make our own decisions if we don’t attend class; our grades should not be penalized.
The reason students should not be penalized for missing class is that, in the end, the grades will show if you attend class. I guarantee you a student will be lost when it comes time for an exam or a paper.
Another wonderful part about the lovely KSC attendance policy is professors who make their own policies and do not follow the official one once you get six or three weeks of absences before 11 weeks.
One time I found myself in a course where once you missed two classes your grade would drop a full letter. Hey buddy, college is a bowl full of germs. What happens if you get really sick? News flash: it happens in college.
On a side note, I am a journalism major and my math stinks, but even I can figure out that if you miss a total of five classes before six weeks you get an F.
The college policy clearly states if you get three full weeks of absences before the eleventh week in the semester, you receive an F or you have to withdraw from the course.
The third wonderful reason why we should not have the attendance policy is because some professors take points out of your final grade.
Let’s say a student has a very bad cold and cough and decides to stay in bed to recover. Losing a point or two for those two absences could mean the difference between an A and an AB.
That is just not fair for that student, but hey, let the student go to class, cough on everyone and get them sick.
Remember though, you are getting penalized before getting to the magic number of six or three weeks of classes.
The college really needs to reexamine this policy. If they will not take the current policy away, the college needs to make some modifications at the very least.
How about if a student is sick and gets a doctor’s note, those absences are excused and do not affect their grade? How about each student gets a sick day or two?
Also, how about a personal day if some crisis happens? Remember how we are adults here?
Most jobs in the workforce that require a college degree give you sick time, which is paid, and you normally get a few personal days as well.
Brian Clemmenson can be contacted at email@example.com