File Photo/Nevada Sagebrush
University of Nevada, Reno, adjunct political science professor Dr. John Scire lectures a group of students in the Ansari Business Building on Wednesday, April 6, 2016. Mandatory attendance grades for courses are becoming nuisances for students.

“If you miss one more class, you won’t pass this course.”

We’ve reached the middle of the semester and that means our pet peeves about being enrolled in 15 credits are alive and well. No matter where you’re at in your collegiate career, you’ve probably had at least one class that requires you to be there every single day and gives you three absences before you “fail” the class.

Mandatory attendance is impractical and unnecessary because if you have a passing grade for the class, you should pass the course overall.

Mandatory attendance is an inconsiderate waste of time. Students pay to be forced to sit in a classroom each week. Even though students must have a required amount of hours in class to meet credit requirements, I can’t help but think that this time could be better spent.

According to the Carnegie unit, for a three credit class, a student must have three hours spent in lecture with six hours of homework per week. If you’re taking the university recommended 15 credits per semester, that means you spend approximately 45 hours per week on school and homework. This is also assuming that each teacher only gives six hours of homework per week.

This might not seem like a lot to a student who’s sole priority is their education. But most students in the United States work throughout their college career. In 2015, the Atlantic reported that nearly 40 percent of undergraduate students work at least 30 hours per week.

Between school and work, a student could have upwards of 85 hours of mandatory obligations per week and that doesn’t even factor in sleep or social life. Forcing them to sit in lectures each week isn’t practical if they still have a passing grade.  

Students learn in different ways and they shouldn’t be forced to sit in a lecture for an hour and a half when they will probably just sit there silently while being distracted. Some students need constant lecture to learn properly and others need a copy of PowerPoint slides and some free time to know exactly what they should be learning. Either method of learning should be okay.

It seems ridiculous that you could get the same exam grade as another student but since  they sit in lecture – probably bored out of their mind – they’ll have a higher overall grade just because of attendance points.

Sometimes teachers don’t have precise methods of taking attendance so even if you show up to class, you could be marked absent without even knowing it. Mandatory attendance is outdated. Participation points are another discussion but any person who misses class is probably well aware that their participation grade might suffer.

Students have so much going on in their lives aside from school. Penalizing them for missing class or threatening them with failing grades isn’t creating a healthy learning environment. If a student is actively passing a course, their attendance grade shouldn’t matter.

Opinions expressed in The Nevada Sagebrush are solely those of the author and do not necessarily express the views of The Sagebrush or of its staff. Jacey Gonzalez is a student at the University of Nevada and studies journalism. She can be reached at jaceygonzalez@sagebrush.unr.edu and on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.