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Is Attendance a Good Enough Excuse for Failing Someone? - July 4th 2015, 02:33 AM

I passed every unit this season, for the first time in my entire academic career. Or so I thought. I got 55, and an Absent Fail for Marketing. I asked the Unit Coordinator to reconsider on three grounds:

1) The requirement for attendance sounded more like a recommendation in the learning guide. It said: "Attendance may be taken into account if your performance needs to be scrutinised. Students attending less than 10 tutorials may find themselves at risk of not passing this unit. Previous experience indicates that students who performed very well in this unit had a strong understanding of concepts. Lectures and tutorials provide a foundation for understanding concepts." However, I have gotten marks in the Credit and Distinction range, so I obviously showed a strong understanding, regardless of my attendance.

2) My attendance numbers were not given to me throughout the season, nor were any warnings or progress reports given. They were, however, given by the only other School of Business Unit I do.

3) The attendances were computerised (they scan a barcode on your card), the results were unfair because they didn't take into consideration, the fact that for four weeks, I attended but did have my student card with me. (It was stolen).

I passed, and now, instead of celebrating, I need the hassle of an appeal of a ridiculous, piece of shit decision. That's enraging to say the least. Why is Attendance such a strong requirement for units and what do you think about the arguments? It's worth noting that if I fail this unit, I will be suspended for twelve months.


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Re: Is Attendance a Good Enough Excuse for Failing Someone? - July 4th 2015, 02:57 AM

Well, I'd say yes and no to attendance being a good enough reason. In my school, certain professors do mark students down if they miss more than a certain amount of classes, and it's a department policy that you fail English if you miss more than a certain amount of classes. Their point I guess is that if you're not attending they don't think that you'll be able to learn the material (and maybe something with cheating, since they'd be wondering how you learned the material without being there). That being said, though, maybe they'll take things into consideration for you seeing as that you actually WERE there, just weren't able to sign in properly.

But I can play the devil's advocate here and say than an argument that they may give you is that you are in college/university now. They may say that you should have gotten a new card or made sure that your attendance was being recorded somewhere else, because technically a professor may say that it's your responsibility to do so. I'd say that if this happens again I'd get it in writing that your attendance is being recorded elsewhere. Some professors will be nice and give you a heads up but others won't.

That being said, though, I think that your argument that you DID pass the exams and technically you WERE there are good arguments and those are things that they may take into consideration. It's not like you weren't actually there after all, I'm just giving you some things they may say.

Attendance is important, but it shouldn't necessarily be the deciding factor if they appear to be doing well on assignments or with the final exam. I do think that students should keep class missing to a minimum though because it is disrespectful to not show up and there is still a chance of missing something important.


   
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Re: Is Attendance a Good Enough Excuse for Failing Someone? - July 4th 2015, 07:13 AM

This may come across as harsh, but here's how I'm looking at this and as someone who has done undergrad and graduate level work as well as filed an appeal (for different reasons) I'm well-versed in how your school is going to see things.

At this level in your education, you are viewed as an adult, and while faculty certainly aren't heartless they aren't going to coddle you either. Here's my response and I'm guessing what your school's arguments may be against you.

1). Syllibi and learning guide guidelines may sound like suggestions, but it's because you're being viewed as an adult student and are given more of a choice of whether you attend class or not. Regardless of how it's worded, if it's specifically mentioned (ie they took the time to put it in there), then it's important and understood that you are expected to abide by it.

For example I once had a paper for a class and the requirements in the assignment description said "students may use outside sources." I had planned on not bothering with them then thought if that was included at all, there was probably a good reason and it was important. Then I looked at the provided rubric and realized that leaving them out would result in a somewhat significant loss of points. It was clearly written as a "suggestion" but that information was provided to me. It was up to me to read and follow it.

2). Schools and professors do things differently. Just because one person/program does it doesn't mean you should automatically expect it. This is something you should be keeping track of, again you're an adult and your education is primarily your responsibility. It isn't necessarily their job to provide something for you that you could easily keep track of yourself. The argument that others do isn't going to get you very far, though you might be able to argue the lack of warning, but that might not help you. If this was a concern for you, you should've approached the instructor and they will probably ask why you didn't.

3). They may empathize with the fact that your card was stolen, but again, it's your responsibility to replace the card and figure out another way to make sure your absences are recorded; like talking to the instructor or the person in charge of the system to work something out. I'm sure you aren't the first student to lose or have their card stolen, if other people were able to have their attendance recorded in spite of it, then they will wonder why you didn't or couldn't. I would check your student handbook too because there may be a policy about how these situations should be handled that you were expected to know.

You also said that you passed every unit for the first time in your academic career, this leads me to believe (and please correct me if I'm wrong) that you've failed a unit more than once. I do think that based on what you've provided here, a 12 month suspension seems harsh, but if this isn't the first time they know that and it will affect the decision as will the fact that your points are largely made up of things they will consider excuses.

Last thing, attendance is important so you don't miss material, but school also serves the purpose of preparing you for life and the workforce. As arbitrary as this requirement may seem to you, if you miss a ton of work you're going to get fired regardless of how well you do the job.


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Re: Is Attendance a Good Enough Excuse for Failing Someone? - July 4th 2015, 12:37 PM

My opinion and experiences may differ since I'm in the UK so different education systems.

When I first started university there was no real attendance monitoring, sometimes lecturers would take registers but if you didn't attend then there were no real consequences and you didn't get punished. However, at the end of my second year they started to enforce attendance monitoring and registers would be taken in every class and you would get emails asking you why you didn't attend a class. Again though, if you didn't attend class you would get the email but no real punishment would occur at that point. However, if you failed an exam or assessment which meant you failed the class overall THEN they would scrutinise your attendance. If you hadn't attended things and didn't have a good reason for missing classes the assessment board may decide that you didn't deserve a chance to resit as it was your fault for missing classes.

But as you said that you've passed your unit I don't see why your attendance was called into question. I do agree with Kate that it's your responsibility to attend classes and make sure you don't miss things BUT I also feel that as an adult if you think you can do well in a class without attending things (assuming attendance isn't mandatory) then that shouldn't be punished either. If you decide not to attend and then fail that's your own fault.

Good luck with everything, hope it gets worked out.
   
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Re: Is Attendance a Good Enough Excuse for Failing Someone? - July 4th 2015, 02:10 PM

Okay the first thing I'm going to say is never ever expect anyone to give you your performance. They expect YOU to keep track of it. You likely won't get any sort of reports. As far as they're concerned, if you can't keep track of it yourself then you aren't doing your part. Like others have said, they will probably say it was your responsibility to do something about your card. You would be expected to at least talk to the professor about not having a way to be recorded as being there. I know it seems like it's unfair that you have to attend class when you understand the material, but that's how it works for most classes. I was never allowed to miss more than one class without dropping a letter grade for the entire course. No matter the outcome of your appeal, learn from this time and try again in your next courses.



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Re: Is Attendance a Good Enough Excuse for Failing Someone? - July 4th 2015, 04:06 PM

I'd say one and two sound like desperation arguments but three is a pretty good one; however, they might just tell you that you should have told her about the card.
I'd say attendance is kind of important because the instructor is being paid to teach you guys, and also a lack of attendance, to me, shows disrespect. Thing is though, in college you're expected to hold yourself accountable as an adult to fulfill your responsibilities. And they usually wont take excuses unless you got something really good (hospital) Don't mean to preach, thats just college.
Hell, for my boring classes, Id just sit in the back and whip out my 3DS and play video games. The fact that I was there was good enough for them, though and they never noticed.


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Re: Is Attendance a Good Enough Excuse for Failing Someone? - July 4th 2015, 08:16 PM

I agree with pretty much everything Kate said.

The attendance policy is there for a reason. Even if it says attendance is optional, you should still go to all your classes, unless you are really sick or someone in your family has an emergency. Saying you couldn't be bothered to go for whatever reason isn't good enough to the professors. They figure you don't care enough about the class to attend and take it seriously, therefore they begin to bring the letter grade down. Theoretically, you could just not go all semester, but what would you learn? What was the purpose of registering for that class, paying for it and buying the book, when you never attend? It's not only a waste of your time and money, it's a waste of the professors. Also, it makes the university look bad because if all their students just not showed up and the professors ended up giving their students failing grades for that, then the school would go from accredited to C.U. - Clown University. Where everything is a joke and nothing is taken seriously.

You are an adult now, and you have to be held accountable for your action. You didn't abide by your student responsibilities and now you've failed that class. The professors are not in the wrong here, you are. You need to start taking responsibility for yourself as you begin adulthood.

To sum it up: yes, not attending classes is a good excuse for getting a failing grade.
   
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Re: Is Attendance a Good Enough Excuse for Failing Someone? - July 4th 2015, 08:59 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reminiscence. View Post
I agree with pretty much everything Kate said.

The attendance policy is there for a reason. Even if it says attendance is optional, you should still go to all your classes, unless you are really sick or someone in your family has an emergency. Saying you couldn't be bothered to go for whatever reason isn't good enough to the professors. They figure you don't care enough about the class to attend and take it seriously, therefore they begin to bring the letter grade down. Theoretically, you could just not go all semester, but what would you learn? What was the purpose of registering for that class, paying for it and buying the book, when you never attend? It's not only a waste of your time and money, it's a waste of the professors. Also, it makes the university look bad because if all their students just not showed up and the professors ended up giving their students failing grades for that, then the school would go from accredited to C.U. - Clown University. Where everything is a joke and nothing is taken seriously.

You are an adult now, and you have to be held accountable for your action. You didn't abide by your student responsibilities and now you've failed that class. The professors are not in the wrong here, you are. You need to start taking responsibility for yourself as you begin adulthood.

To sum it up: yes, not attending classes is a good excuse for getting a failing grade.
But she didn't fail the unit? In her post it clearly states that she passed it and the only reason she may fail it is because they've decided her attendance hasn't been good enough.
   
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Re: Is Attendance a Good Enough Excuse for Failing Someone? - July 4th 2015, 09:15 PM

The attendance policy and the grade of Absent Fail is a possibility on the grading scale. He was expected to know that. So, they can fail him even if students don't agree with it or like it. This happened to one of my friends. There was a limit to the number of classes we could miss, she exceeded it and even with a good excuse, was failed because of it. Even if it's more of a suggestion in this case, the limit is there.
Quote:
Students attending less than 10 tutorials may find themselves at risk of not passing this unit.
And his arguments won't get him very far. They're going to see him as making excuses for why it's not his fault which is going to work against him.

Years ago it didn't matter as much if you attended class or not, this has changed for the majority of schools and the faculty will stand by any written policy when considering an appeal. As much as we might disagree with it, unfortunately this is how things are.


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