Last Friday, I discussed my battles with absenteeism in the classroom. Not only do students suffer in their performance by missing class, but it creates more work for me in terms of time grading poor answers on exams.
Where absenteeism poses a particular problem beyond just missing class is when assignments are due or exams are scheduled. Students may have legitimate reasons for being absent; as a result, my policy takes into account three situations:
Situations arise during the course of the semester that will cause me to revisit the policy and make changes. Take this sterling example:
- A student commutes to class from his/her off-campus home. On the day an exam is scheduled, he/she e-mails me that his/her car has broken down and he/she will not be able to make it to class. Per the policy, I required a note from an appropriate party - in this case, the auto repair shop. The student provides the note, and I notice the home address of the student on the receipt. It turns out the student's "commute" was less than a mile from a campus, and he/she could have easily walked to class.
As always, the policy is a dynamic, not static, instrument, and students will find inventive ways to find loopholes. Sigh!