Students are adults and can attend if they want

By By Gina Lea Nickl

By Gina Lea Nickl

Mandatory attendance policies at the university level aren’t uncommon from class to class. The argument is often made that students who attend class perform better than students who don’t attend. Even if that were true, it doesn’t justify required attendance. Students should be able to choose whether to attend class or not.

We are talking about college students8212;adults. It’s not always necessary to attend class in order to learn the information, and it shouldn’t be forced even if it were.

A study published in 1999 by Innovative Higher Education called “A Case Against Compulsory Class Attendance Policies in Higher Education,” shows that grades are not affected by mandatory attendance. However, having students choose to attend class on their own has positive effects on their psychological and emotional development.

Some argue the obvious: You need to go to class to hear what the professor is teaching. But many teachers lecture straight from the textbook. Showing up to class is then a waste of time, since students can read the book on their own. Learning styles also vary from student to student. Some students cannot process information when it is only spoken to them. These students do better with reading the texts.

Another prevalent argument in favor of mandatory attendance policies says that college students are adults and there is mandatory attendance in the adult world of work. But this comparison doesn’t really hold up. When a person is paid to perform a service, you can expect the employer to keep track of his or her attendance. As a student, however, you are paying for your own education. You will get anything you want out of it. With tuition, you get access to all the resources the university has to offer. Students should be allowed to use, or not use, any resource they want. There are many students who graduate without ever setting foot in the campus library and no one seems to want to force all students to use that resource.

It is possible that a straight, lecture-style class is going to disappear one day. Our generation relies on the Internet in many aspects of our lives. Online classes and other non-traditional formats will become more and more popular, to the point that much of class time may, one day, be obsolete. Universities should let students take responsibility for their education and stop trying to force them to learn.

[email protected]

Gina Lea Nickl