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Editorial: Leave attendance out of grading


By opinions board
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, November 18, 2004
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Finals week is rapidly approaching, and with that, grades will be issued - the culmination of a semester's worth of toil.

You've done the reading, turned in the obligatory assignments and suffered through an exam or two, and so far, you've done quite well in all aspects of the class. However, despite the fact that your academic performance thus far has been adequate, for some students at the UA, all that effort could be for naught. The reason: required class attendance. Strict attendance policies upheld by some UA instructors can mean the difference between a good or bad GPA.

Making attendance mandatory creates an atmosphere that is distinctly condescending and patronizing towards students. In effect, instructors are saying that students do not know how to take care of their own education and lack the ability to know what in their busy lives needs to be prioritized. Students have other commitments than school and should not be punished because of their hectic lives.

Attendance of classes should be at the sole discretion of the student, not dictated by the teacher.

While children in elementary school and high school we were legally obligated to go to school; in college it is a different matter. We are legally adults, and as such are responsible for our own education.

Whether we attend classes or not is our own choice. After all, higher education is a service that we pay for, and as a service, we can choose to utilize it at our convenience.

Granted, attending class does correlate to better grades for some. However, grades should be a quantitative measure of ability, not qualitative. Making attendance a part of grading introduces an unnecessary level of subjectivity into grading. Assigning students lower grades because of missed class despite proficiency in the material gives instructors the right to abuse the grading system, allowing them to dole out grades in retribution or reward.

Common sense tells us that if you miss class, you miss out on material and a better grade. As adults, UA students have the ability to discern what is best for them. And, in some instances, missing class is necessary.

Staff opinions are the opinion of the Arizona Daily Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. Its members are Susan Bonicillo, Nate Buchik, Evan Caravelli, Brett Fera and Andrea Kelly.



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