Should College Attendance Be Mandatory Essay

796 Words Jan 30th, 2009 4 Pages
Should college students be required to attend class through mandatory attendance policies? Should professors deduct points for students who miss more than a given number of absences? This can be a heated debate between students and instructors, and between instructors with different opinions as well. Here are some arguments on both side.

Arguments in Favor of Mandatory Attendance Policies
One of the main arguments in favor of requiring attendance is that good attendance is needed to develop a strong sense of community in a classroom, and to foster a healthy sense of class participation. For instructors who choose to stick with the old lecture model, this isn't an issue. However, many instructors opt to have a participatory classroom
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Arguments Against Mandatory Attendance Policies
One of the biggest argument against attendance policies is that they are patronizing and fail to treat students as adults. Children are forced by law to attend school, but adults are not. And if you treat people like children, they may be more likely to act like children.

Related to this is one of the students' biggest complains about attendance policies. "Hey, I paid to take this class," argues a typical student. "I can choose whether or not I want to be here."

One reason many instructors dislike mandatory attendance policies is because they can be a good deal of work to enforce, and they put the teacher in the role of police officer. Whenever you have rules, people try to argue their way around them, rightfully or not.

Instructors find themselves dealing with a stream of appeals from students who claim (rightly or wrongly) to have legitimate excuses for missing class. They also find themselves dealing with long lists of students at the end of the semester who claim they were in class and forgot to sign the attendance sheet on this day or that-- a problem that can be solved by making students 100% responsible for signing the sheet each day no matter what, but this can be rather draconian.

Although many instructors applaud mandatory attendance policies because they encourage participation, others question the value of forced participation. Students who don't really want to be there-- and…