Whether or not attendance should be counted as a percentage of a student’s grade is up to debate.
“When I order food, I am not forced to eat it because I paid for it,” Tyler Horne said. “If I pay for my classes I shouldn’t be punished for the days that I decide not to go, it’s like being charged extra for the food that I don’t eat.”
Horne is just one of many SLCC students who feel this way about instructors including attendance as part of the grading structure. A lot of college students leave their respective high schools hungry for freedom and independence but instead get to class on the first day to find that they will still sign in on the role every day and lose points for not attending.
Griffen Merrill, second year SLCC student said, “How can we be expected to succeed in the real world when we are pulled along by the hand like little children through our whole education?”
There are other students who sign up for classes knowing they will not be able to make it all the time but count on catching up and communicating with the instructor online.
“I signed up for a class last semester and I knew I wouldn’t always be able to go because of my work. What I didn’t know was that every day that I missed I was going to lose 10 points. It really hurt my grades that semester,” first year student Dylan Jacobson said.
Other SLCC students appreciate instructors who do use attendance as part of their grading.
“To me, it shows that they care that I come to class,” student Courtney Thomas said. “If I don’t have to go, I am not going to go all the time, the teachers help me get there.”
Announcements, assignments and instructions are missed when students can’t make it to class. In some courses, just one day can put a student painfully behind. Others, like history instructor Mark Welsch, use student’s attendance as extra credit when it exemplifies the student’s commitment and effort.
Students and instructors are ultimately not expected to see eye-to-eye on this issue, but they are expected to work together in creating a quality education. When registering for classes, it’s important to consider whether you’ll be able to attend because you never know if attendance will be part of the grade. For instructors, work with your students who can’t make it all of the time, even if attendance is a part of the grading structure.