A+ for attendance

By Kelsey Ketterling

ketterlike@mnstate.edu

Whether it was a gold star or raising your hand to say “here,” most likely we’ve all had attendance taken for class.

If you didn’t show up, you missed sticking that gold star next to your name. It was one of my favorite parts of the day. I used to think gold stars were the coolest thing ever, even though you could buy them at the dollar store.

In high school, attendance was a little bit different.

In my school, and I’m sure most people’s, if I missed class a phone call was made to my parents to let them know. Because I did not actively seek reasons to anger my parents, it was easy for me to have perfect attendance.

I always thought it was funny how awards were given for having perfect attendance, even though it was required (thanks, public school system, for the awards I can’t actually display or use on my resume).

I am now 21. I pay bills, buy groceries, and make my own decisions. I am technically an adult. So why am I still being graded on my attendance like a 6-year-old with a low attention span and all jacked up on sugar?

I pay to attend classes at MSUM, so shouldn’t it be my choice if I decide not to go? I’d not only be missing out on class, but also wasting my money. I’m not saying it’s smart, but it should be my decision to make.

I should not be penalized if another obligation causes me to miss class. Sometimes I get called into work to pick up a shift. Sometimes my car won’t start, especially now that it’s winter.

My attendance could be the difference between an A or a B. Professors get paid whether or not students decide to show up. Which begs the question — why is attendance part of my grade for the class?

Professors reserve the right to cancel class if they are unable to make it. If they can cancel class that I pay for at any time, then why can’t I skip without facing consequences?

The public school system does a good job of ingraining the fear of missing something important if we don’t go to school at a young age. So shouldn’t we have faith that our now-adult students know the importance of going to class  regularly without punishing them by taking away a “gold star” for the day?

Of course, there is always a chance that if attendance is made unimportant by not having it part of the overall grade for a class then students will constantly skip. But let’s face it, adult college students are going to do whatever they want, regardless of consequences.

I think we should get rid of the “gold star” system and cut attendance from the grading rubric.

We are in college after all,  and if we need to have our hand held and told how important it is to go to class, then we probably shouldn’t be here in the first place.

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