Tests, projects, homework and essays are the majority of what students have to complete to earn an A in a class, but a grade can be lowered if he or she misses more than a few days of class.
Professors set rules and guidelines for their students to follow and attendance is one of the most important, according to some of Midland College’s professors.
MC speech professor Katherine Allen bases less than 10 percent of her grading on attendance and participation. Students are expected to attend class on a regular basis, unless a conflict occurs.
“I allow three on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday class and two on a Tuesday, Thursday,” Allen said.
“It is up to the professors as to what percentage of their final grade comes from participation,” said MC professor Mindy Flowers. For some professors, participation grades differ depending on the class.
“When I taught kinesiology activity courses, I counted attendance more because it was an activity course,” Flowers said. “In my lecture courses I count about 20 percent of the final grade on attendance and participation.”
Professors are allowed to set their own attendance requirements, but deans have a say in policy, along with access to all of the syllabi. Allen said deans could point out potential problems to professors.
There are benefits of attendance being mandatory for MC students. “It encourages them to be conscientious about their attendance and helps them realize that they are in control,” Allen said.
“Lectures, activities, discussions all benefit the students. So, if the students are in class, they are benefitted by being present,” she said. “Students are paying for the class, so each time they miss a class, they are just throwing the money away.”
There are students who find the attendance regulation beneficial as well. “One is more motivated to show up. If you don’t do the work, you don’t see the benefits. The same goes for attendance,” said MC student Sarah Sherpa.
Professors do understand that illness and emergencies can emerge, but also feel that they have given students enough days to miss so that they can handle problems that may occur. “Sometimes people do get sick,” Allen said.
“There may be a family emergency or they might have an appointment with a doctor and that (allowed absences) gives the opportunity to take care of that.”
Students are expected to be in class so that they can obtain all of the information given by the professor. “The way I teach is very interactive,” Allen said. “Interaction between students allows them to get to know each other better and practice their communication skills and hopefully feel more comfortable when it gets to the point where they have to stand in front of the class.”
There are also negative effects to having a set amount of absent days allowed.
“The main negative is for students who work full time and/or have other obligations such as family that makes it hard for them to attend class full time,” Flowers said. There are reasons as to why some students find it acceptable to skip class.
A lot of times people think that the teachers aren’t as serious as they appear in class,” Sherpa said. “Even for me, it’s hard to always be serious in class.”
Professors calculate all students’ grades, including participation, because the professors agreed they believe a student has to be in class to fully understand the assignments and want them to be prepared for any assignment in the future.