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

Mandatory attendance had little effect on drop rates

Statistics show little difference between drop numbers this semester with the mandatory attendance policy and last spring without the policy.

According to numbers from the registrar, 26 percent of students have dropped or been dropped from a class so far this semester. In spring 2011, 28 percent of students dropped at least one class.
Of the 12,087 students dropping a class this semester, 24.7 percent of them were dropped from a class under the mandatory attendance policy.

The numbers for this semester are not complete. Students can still drop or be dropped from eight-week courses until April 28, associate vice chancellor of enrollment services David Ximenez said, but those drops shouldn’t make a large difference in the overall percentage.
“We shouldn’t pick up many more drop requests because it is too late for any course except the eight-week classes,” Ximenez said.

While the numbers are not complete and several semesters’ data must be compiled to create an accurate picture, this comparison’s results surprised Ximenez, he said.

“I do think it is interesting to see 28 [percent] last spring semester and 26 this semester,” he said. “I would not have predicted less drops this spring.”

TR student Jarian Derrough said students should be able to choose how they spend their time.
“As long as I can still make the grade, I think I should be able to choose to attend class or not. And if the choice not to attend class affects my grade, that’s a consequence I’ll have to accept,” he said. “I was dropped from Texas Government class even though I have a high average and actively participate in class. I agree with teachers’ discretion, but what if they don’t evaluate based on students’ grade and participation?”

Jessica Garcia, also a TR student, said the policy didn’t affect her much because she works on campus, making class attendance easier.

“I’m sympathetic with instructors that work hard getting lesson plans prepared for students who don’t show up, but at the same time we’re paying for the class,” she said. “We are grown adults. It should be up to us.”

Some teachers have noticed a difference, saying they noticed fewer absences.

“Overall, it’s [the attendance policy] been positive,” NW earth science instructor Janis Forehand said. “I’ve seen a greater improvement in attendance and less tardiness.”

TR Spanish instructor Katherine Brooke agreed.

“This semester, I’ve observed fewer absences. Fewer people have dropped the class, and students have been much more aware of their class attendance,” she said.

She said as long as students communicated with her during an absence and she knew they were interested, she wouldn’t drop them.

“I dropped one student,” she said.

But Forehand said there was some confusion about the email notifications.

“I’ve had a lot of panic emails from students worried about being dropped,” she said. “They should send notifications only if students have one class before they actually get dropped.”
The policy was designed to raise student attendance because studies show higher attendance leads to higher grades, said Anne Drake, NE learning center coordinator who helped make the policy.

This semester, instructors are telling Drake their retention numbers are up, she said.

“All in all, it is working out the way we planned it to,” Drake said.

Students’ desire for freedom to make choices was taken into account when the policy was made, she said.

“But there was a severe issue with students not showing up and turning up four weeks later going, ‘What did I miss?’” Drake said.

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