The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Students adjust to new policy on attendance

By Jonathan Kahan/reporter

With a revised attendance policy, students can be penalized by being dropped from their classes if they miss 15 percent of class meetings and do not keep up with their course assignments.

Although the mandatory attendance policy is an attempt to increase student attendance and performance, some instructors have different feelings on the matter — whether teaching on-campus or off.

Distance learning courses also have methods of counting attendance, such as tracking participation in assignments on certain days.

J. Brent Alford, NW performing arts department chair, refers to the policy when creating his Instructor Course Requirements documents.

“I do not enforce the attendance policy available through the district,” he said. “However, I found that the electronic alert and early warning components are very effective.”

If students approach the 15 percent limit, they will receive an alert from WebAdvisor informing them that they are near the point of being dropped.

“I have seen strong student response to alerts and warnings generated by the system and, consequently, better attendance across all classes,” Alford said.

Student Courtney Curry said she has not been directly affected by the policy since she attends classes regularly. However, she has seen significant student drops in her algebra class, which she predicted were indirectly caused by poor attendance.

“Students are missing the maximum amount of classes and dropping out on their own because they cannot keep up with the curriculum,” she said. “I do think it has motivated other students to come to class.”

The policy states that if an instructor decides to drop a student, this will lead to a “withdrawal” on the transcript and possibly a bill for financial aid reimbursement among other possible penalties. To prevent this, students must show up for class and keep up with coursework.

Marita Prince, institutional research, planning and effectiveness administrative assistant, said no current tool determines the number of drops because of attendance. She said reviewing the cumulative performance of students against previous years, however, might be an indicator of the policy’s effectiveness.

Student Mallory Pfaff balances work, school and children — all while being pregnant. She said the policy has encouraged her to attend classes more often.

“I personally have made more of an effort than before to attend class due to the policy changes,” she said. “I do think it could cause a higher drop rate, but it could help weed out students that are not ready for the demands of college life.”

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