Attendance shouldn’t affect grade

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Graded attendance policies are both harmful to students individually and to the institution as a whole.

I was only allotted a certain amount of absences and tardy arrivals when I was in high school before my grade was negatively affected. I should be graded on my knowledge, not my presence. However, I understood that was the high school’s policy.

I was under the impression that once I reached college, the professors were going to be different and encourage self-reliance and independence.

I found out a majority of my instructors’ grading policies concerning attendance mirrored the ones I so loathed in high school. In one class, the professor went as far as saying that if I, or any student, missed more than four days of class, our grade would drop a whole letter.

Professors here still treat their students as if they are in high school, not like adults at a university. 

On one hand, graded attendance policies may force more students to come to class regularly. These students should then naturally do better in class as a consequence and the professor would not have to answer email after email about what the student missed. That is the reasoning for graded attendance, but I firmly disagree with the justification for two reasons.

Ungraded attendance does not and cannot apply to every class. Some classes are once a week and are therefore incredibly reliant on attendance to complete work. I am not including those classes and labs that only happen once per week because if a student didnt show up to that class they would miss several days worth of work.

My first reason for disagreement is about learned responsibility. When am I supposed to learn responsibility? If I am forced to come to classband the decision is taken out of my hands, where is there room to grow?

According to a poll by College Factual, Dixie State University’s academic standing is near the bottom of national rankings among nearly 1,400 qualified schools. I believe this is because students here are not being treated like they are capable being higher on this list. 

Whatever happened to being responsible, even with the consequences that can come from missing class? At 18 years and older, we should not be forced to go to class. 

Students will not understand necessary responsibility unless they are given the opportunity to exercise it.

The second reason I disagree with the immediate relationship between attendance and grades is because I believe I should be graded on my knowledge and work alone; sitting in a chair should carry no academic weight.

Think about it- I could work hard in and out of a class, expand my knowledge and even ace the final exam.  But, depending on my professor, the best grade I could get would be a “B” if I missed five days of class or more throughout the semester. Meanwhile, the kid to my right could put in half the effort and get the same grade or higher just by showing up and paying attention.

I am not encouraging students to skip class. Please go to class. But do so because it is the wise and correct thing to do. Professors should not force us to come to class nor reward us if we do show up. It is time to breathe some responsibility into this institution, and it starts with us.