Words @ War 09.21.11

Should attendance be mandatory in college courses?

A required attendance policy should remain required by professors at Ferris State University.

For most students at Ferris, their first day of class began with a syllabus stating a required attendance policy. The current educational models in college classrooms are often structured to prepare students for professional environments. This is evident in the amount of group work, internship requirements and mandatory attendance policies degree programs incorporate.

The use of a mandatory attendance policy creates a clear definition of classroom expectations and potential penalties. By removing the attendance policies from the classroom, professors are giving undergraduate students the decision to choose if attending class will ultimately benefit them. Though this type of responsibility may seem capable of higher-level students, it could be destructive for incoming students transitioning from high school.

At the introductory college level, students are beginning to manage their own time and balance substantially larger amounts of coursework. The lack of an attendance policy creates an unstructured learning schedule for students potentially unfamiliar with university learning.

Mandatory attendance policies also require students to engage in classroom discussions that may not be covered in the textbook. There have been numerous studies proving that student attendance often influences classroom participation and higher grades. Statewide universities such as Michigan State University have presented evidence showing the benefits between attendance and test scores in their engineering program. This is also due to classroom learning engaging a wide range of learning styles including auditory, visual and tactile learning.

The purpose of both the university and its faculty should be to create a learning environment capable of educating its students. A mandatory attendance policy creates that environment for all students by providing reading, discussion and hands-on learning. It seems apathetic that a student wouldn’t attend a class, which he registered for, in order to stay on campus and get a few more hours of sleep.

With classes costing $348 per credit hour or $5,220 per 15 credit-hour semester, attendance policy or not, make the most of your education.