Although I have never been one of those students who shows up to classes sporadically or only on exam dates, what has always bothered me is the strict drop policy that professors here at American River College enforce.
ARC’s 2013-2014 catalog states that students who fail to show up to class on the first day of the semester may be dropped immediately. I can realize that on the first day of school there are many waitlisted students anxious to be enrolled into the class, so I understand why professors feel the need to drop students who fail to attend on the first day for those classes. However, students can be dropped even if the class has no waitlist.
Students who miss six percent of the total hours of class time may also be dropped, at the instructor’s discretion. That means if you miss 3.24 hours of your high-demand three credit English writing course, you can be dropped, regardless of why you missed that class.
If students have a legitimate reason as to why they were absent, along with the necessary proof backing it up, I do not feel that they should be dropped from the course just because they exceeded a certain number of absences.
ARC English professor Lynda Case feels differently about the policy, stating that she goes by the total number of absences, regardless of whether or not the absences are excused.
“The issue isn’t the worthiness of the student’s reason for being absent; it’s the fact that the student is missing assigned class time,” she said.
Though I do feel that school should be treated as a job and students should show up on a daily basis, a countless number of students have other commitments outside of school that they have to tend to.
While you have students who are athletes, some work full-time and other students are also parents. Often emergencies do happen to come up that place students in unforeseen positions that force them to miss a couple of classes.
“I’ve had students with several weeks worth of excused absences, but missing that much class means the student hasn’t absorbed the needed information,” said Case.
Sure, missing a couple of classes may eventually cause students to fall behind on their work, but I believe that only proves to be true if students allow themselves to fall behind.
If students are actually determined to pass a class and they are really making an effort to get caught up the work that they missed, it doesn’t seem fair for them to be dropped from the course.
We should adjust the drop policy to better accommodate the needs of the student body.
Not every professor strictly abides by the drop policy, but those that do should take into mind why students may have to miss a couple of classes and be more forgiving.