Attendance not reflective of intelligence

Jocelyn Swartz

Throughout this semester, the students at Cal State Northridge have been educated on the matter of where their tuition money is headed, courtesy of the disagreements between the California Faculty Association and the CSU administration. Talk of a strike contributed to the interest by many students to learn about the situation and discover where the money was going.

Tuition increases by small increments every semester, and hopefully more of that money will be headed into the bank accounts of our hard working and dedicated professors, with more negotiations and with the continuation of numerous students wishing to be a part of the Cal State system.

Many students wish to transfer to CSUs every semester from their local junior colleges, and eager high school graduates await their acceptance letters, only to discover that after the tuition checks have been cashed many students are hit with a strict attendance policy in college.

Attendance policies are becoming more popular with teachers on our campus. In some classes three absences lowers your grade, regardless of exam grades or participation. The attendance policy is mind boggling, due to the nature of a college education.

A college education is a decision that young adults are able to make for themselves and in many situations with their parents or guardians. Once this decision is made tuition is paid and books are purchased by the students and their families. All of these decisions are made independently from any potential professor.

Attending class regularly is the key to a successful career, but new students need to come to this realization on their own. College is about discovering who one is, deciding how they would like to contribute to society, and most importantly, becoming prepared for the career that will eventually be earned, and one that will add to their personal life. This has to be at the student’s own pace. Being forced to attend class in order to simply pass will not benefit any student. What will benefit this invisible student in the classroom is to fail the first exam and have them realize on their own what it will take for them to succeed.

A college grade should be earned through the student’s coursework, not their attendance. If a biology major who wishes to become a doctor, skips classes yet receives nothing less than an “A,” should the student have to send in their transcript to potential medical schools with a lower grade on it, due to their lack of attendance? The grade then does not truly reflect the student’s potential and intelligence.

Once a student is forced to attend class by the same authoritative figure that they hoped to leave behind in high school or junior college that student loses the appreciation that many of us have for college and education. Young students are looking for that mentor who will guide them through college and into a successful career. Mentoring is more than providing rules and restrictions, but showing concern and understanding.

Responsibility is a major part of being successful in a person’s professional and personal life. But this quality cannot be required by a professor, it has to be learned and practiced. A student may attend every class one semester and be able to call home with glorious grades and consider themselves responsible. Then the next semester the same student experiments with classroom freedom, only to discover that their well deserved GPA has lowered dramatically. This cycle may repeat itself over their years in college, but what they are graduating with is the appreciation for the things that will benefit them, like a scheduled class session, which is a lesson that will greatly benefit them in the working world.