Attendance policies

Are three days enough, too many or too few?

College students and professors have their different opinions on attendance policies, saying three days is a good amount, or saying three is too many days.

You’re going to have a day or two when they miss class.  But missing too many classes for no good reason such as an illness or emergency can cause you to fail class and have to retake it a different term.  Some professors have their policies where if a student misses three days or more without a proper reason, they’ll fail the course.

Psychology sophomore James Held gave his opinion on whether three days being enough or not, and whether he thought students should or shouldn’t fail a class if they had too many absences.

“Three days is nothing, and I don’t think students should fail a certain course if they have too many absences,” Held said.  “However, maybe taking a certain number of points away could be necessary depending on the reason because students can take advantage of not showing up to class without any penalties.”

I can see where Held was going when he said points could be taken away if students don’t have a reasonable explanation for missing out on class.  While attendance may only be a small portion of a student’s final grade, the points still count, and the number of absences is tracked by professors.  I agree with Held that points should be taken away from a student’s overall grade for any unexcused or unreasonable absences.

Environmental biology sophomore Kate Babel mentions her opinion on failing or not failing students for too many absences and gives a different perspective than Held.

“I think it’s fair for students to receive a failing grade for not attending class,” Babel said. “I think it’s fair because I believe that people should take responsibility for their own actions, if you don’t show up for class then you face the consequences that come later. So, no, I don’t think three days is enough.”

I agree with this also.  Students decide whether they show up to class or not.  Skipping too many classes because they don’t want to go to class proves that they don’t particularly care about their education and don’t care about the consequences of failing the course.

Neil Patten, a communication and humanities professor, briefly talked about the attendance policy for the classes he teaches, as well as his number of unexcused absences that would result in failing his courses.

“My policy is two ‘personal days’ and excused absences beyond that with reasonable notice and sometimes documentation,” said Patten.  “More than five unexcused in a communication class, you don’t pass the class.”

Specifically for communication classes, Patten has it to five unexcused absences resulting in failing grade.  Even though he never said three days was not enough days, we can assume that’s a thought he had, explaining why he makes his attendance policy unexcused absences instead of three.

Zoe Ann Wendler, a professor in technical and professional communication, doesn’t have an attendance policy for her courses, but mentions why it’s important to attend her classes as much as possible.

“I don’t take attendance because I exclusively teach upper-division practicum courses,” Wendler said.  “When a student consistently skips classes like those, they don’t pass because they just don’t have access to the tools and skills they need in order to complete the work for the course.”

I agree as well with this.  It doesn’t matter whether attendance is taken or not, missing out on class means missing out on important material.

I feel that three days is not enough for attendance policies.  I believe that since there’s five days in a week, a good attendance policy should be five or more unexcused absences which would result in a failing for grade no matter the student or course.  Some would say that three days is a proper amount, too many or not enough.  We’re all entitled to our own opinions.