Students shouldn’t have to attend if they can contend


The Daily Illini File Photo

Statistics 100 students listen to newly hired instructor, Karle Laska, speak about the final few pages in the course manual on Dec 8, 2015. Statistics 100 is a popular course for incoming freshman transitioning into the academic pressures of the University.

By Krystyna Serhijchuk, Columnist

serhijchukkrystyna_cutout I find myself wishing I were not in class so that I could be finishing up a paper that’s due later that day far too often. Instead, I’m forcing myself to attend a class with a mandatory attendance policy, and noticing an alarming number of students mindlessly scrolling through Facebook or texting on their laptops.

While professors simply want students to come to class regularly to optimize learning, attendance policies don’t make us participate. They just make us physically present.

Simply going to class will not make you successful or perform better in class. Mandatory attendance policies don’t cause students to be more motivated, but instead act as a Band-Aid solution to poor attendance and low motivation.

Students are being coddled through these attendance policies. The roots of the poor attendance problem, being low motivation and other personal problems, are not fixed or addressed through mandatory attendance.

Instead, grades are being either inflated or unnecessarily hurt by these policies. When attendance is a graded portion of a class, it typically affects a whole letter grade or more. Some heavily discussion-based courses even value attendance as much as an exam or other assignments. Because of this, attendance heavily determines whether a student passes or does poorly in a class, regardless of their knowledge of class material.

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    Grades exist to measure a student’s knowledge of class material. If attendance takes up a significant percentage of a class grade, it skews the scale of whether the student actually mastered the material. This is true because attendance doesn’t make students pay attention in class, or indicate whether a student actually understands and absorbs said material.

    In addition, if college is supposed to teach students to make critical decisions and use their time wisely, mandatory attendance policies go against that.

    Most college students can relate with being required to take a course that has no relevance to their degree or interests, and many have even been stuck in a class that is poorly taught.

    By being required to attend one of these classes with a mandatory attendance policy, you may be missing out on the benefits you could have gotten if you attended another professor’s office hours or worked on your group project for another class. Students shouldn’t be punished for wanting to spend their time more wisely.

    When students cannot miss class, professors also inaccurately gauge their own performances. If a professor’s main incentive behind getting students to attend class is to have it affect their grades, this may indicate that their class is lackluster in some way.

    If students would rather not attend the class because they don’t see it as necessary or a wise use of their time, this information might be useful to the professor.

    Although the University requires students to fill out anonymous Instructor and Course Evaluation System forms at the end of the semester, students don’t always give their uncensored opinions about the course. Freely skipping class would more accurately showcase student opinion.

    Krystyna is a junior in English.

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