Policies regarding unexcused absences sometimes unfair to other students

March 20, 2011 — by Shivani Chadha

It’s a common complaint that missing a day of classes here is like missing an entire week at any other school.

It’s a common complaint that missing a day of classes here is like missing an entire week at any other school.

Almost everyone has missed a day of school to recover from illness or go to an appointment, both of which are valid reasons for an absence. Of course, it is invalid when students simply skip a class to gain an academic advantage over other students, something that happens too often, especially in tough classes.

All teachers have their own make-up policies. But the school’s make-up policy really isn’t strict or fair enough to account for the number of students who simply miss class for fluke and unfair reasons.

Currently, teachers use their own policies to allow students to make up missed work. Although something is always required of students to make up missing work, the policies are varied and inconsistent—students may have to attend a certain number of tutorials, come in after school or simply do the assigned homework.

Again, the problem is that there actually is no school-wide make-up policy. Many students take advantage of this inconsistency by skipping their first periods to return in the afternoon on their own will, simply to gain an advantage over other students by taking a test later or taking more time to study for a test.

Many teachers don’t even make students make up missed tests, but instead they just count the next exam as as the grade for the both tests. Though this could be a punishment in some cases, it can also be unfair to students who were in class that day. What if the next test is easier? Then the students who were in class are the ones at a disadvantage.

A possible solution is for teachers or administrators to adopt stricter policies to decrease the number of fluke absences. If teachers made an alternate test for absent students to take at a later date, then students would not be able to get away with skipping a unit test altogether. However, this may not be possible as test making takes much time on the teachers’ part.

Another possible solution is closer monitoring of students who miss morning classes but come in the afternoon. Stricter punishments for these types of offenses may lead to fewer absences on test or presentation days.

Fundamentally, students should take responsibility for missing classes. Everybody complains about teachers who require students attend two to three tutorials to make up missed time, but the truth is that these policies are actually fair. They force students to learn missed material because most students would rather hang out with friends during tutorial rather than take the initiative to go to classes on their own.

Harsher policies for absentees are fair for the students who attend class every day and even help the absentees themselves in the long run.

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