It is ultimately up to the individual student to decide on whether or not they will go to class, but there should be consequences for not doing so. I am not claiming that every student needs perfect attendance, but the school has a responsibility to enforce an attendance policy, and when considered in a logical way, it is more helpful than hurtful.
Some teachers have attendance points; others say students will get a lower grade if they miss this number of classes, and others simply have homework assignments due daily. I refer to all of these as “easy points.”
If students get five points every time they show up to class, why not just take them? That would really be the only “for sure” points obtained in a semester. Why not take extra points when they’re available?
On a separate note, teachers deserve at least a bit of respect. They have a job to do. It must be hard to teach a class when five students consistently walk into class 10 to 30 minutes late. My guess is that attendance policies are partly to keep all professors from going postal.
Students that attend the lectures tend to know the material better. At the very least, they know in what direction teachers are taking the course, and they know the due dates.
In 2011, an article was published in the Journal of Computing Sciences in colleges by two professors from Georgia College and Georgia State University. Professors Jenq-Foung Yao and Tsu-Ming Chiang investigated the effects attendance had on students’ grades.
Their study showed the percentage of class attendance almost equaled the grades students received, showing that more class attendance means higher grades, and that attendance on the first day can be an indicator of how well a student will do in the class.
I know a major argument is that this is your money, you’re paying for your college education, and you should be able to do what you want. Well guess what: this isn’t Disney World. You are not paying the college for a good time. You are paying them to get a degree and become eligible for employment. Part of this learning process, especially at a two-year college, is learning how to become an adult and be successful in the future. In the real world, skipping work or showing up 20 minutes late to a meeting will result in loss of that job.
I am aware of the extreme circumstances, and I have yet to meet a teacher that will not let students slide once. However, if those extreme cases happen to you on a weekly basis, you will not be so lucky. A person’s grandma can really only die in a freak tire swing accident once a semester.
I think the real issue for most students is they are not ready or responsible enough for the next step. Yes, they may be smart enough to pass all their courses without attending a single class. But if they can do that, why not just test out of a class? That would be a lot cheaper.