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Should Attendance/In-class Performance Record Affect the Course Grade?

The primary function of educational institutions is providing knowledge, helping students to acquire skills necessary for career advancement and...

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Should Attendance/In-class Performance Record Affect the Course Grade? 1

The primary function of educational institutions is providing knowledge, helping students to acquire skills necessary for career advancement and living in modern society. Exams show whether teachers perform their responsibilities successfully. Therefore, the main students must pass tests and show good results.  

But the educational process does not boil down to taking exams at the end of each semester. Educators claim that intermediary control is no less important; learners should attend all lectures and seminars, be active in class. At the same time, some people claim that everyone should have the right to move to academic success in one’s own way. If a person can learn the trickiest topics at home, why should one be forced to come to school every day?

The attendance issue is somewhat controversial. Both advocates and opponents have reasonable arguments and have argued for many years. As a rule, students want to attend lessons optionally, while educators claim that this freedom will undermine discipline. Experts from Pro-Papers have analyzed the pros and cons of voluntary attendance and outlined them in this article.

Advantages of optional attendance

Freedom of choice

You have probably noticed that things become less attractive if we are forced to do them. For example, most learners do not like physical education because teachers force them to comply with high standards. But, at the same time, most kids like extracurricular sections where they play sports games and have fun. Freedom is an indispensable prerequisite for happiness. A slave’s life is not satisfying for anyone.

Strict attendance policy turns a school into a prison, lowers learning enthusiasm, awakening stubbornness, and desire to break the rules. Here is the common situation: teenagers do not like history and literature lessons but start reading historical and fiction books in adulthood, when it is possible to come to a book store and buy whatever they want.

Some young people do not want to attend classes because of bullies and picky teachers. It is much more comfortable to learn in a cozy, safe home environment with a tutor chosen self-handedly.

Also, some disciplines may be insignificant for a person’s future career. If one is destined to become a great athlete, artist, or musician, a traditional curriculum is going to hinder one’s development. It is reasonable for such kids to spend time in extracurricular sections corresponding to their talents.

Attendance is not equal to learning

Noise in a class may be somewhat distracting. So it is easier for some kids to study alone, in the silence of their own room. At the same time, other children come to a school to communicate with classmates and show trendy clothes rather than learn. Statistics show that kids with perfect attendance may have bad marks and vice versa, so excessive control does not bring positive results. It is worth taking into account each student’s individual needs and adapting the educational process to them.


Voluntary attendance does not mean that young people will stop studying. The exam day always comes when it becomes clear whether a person worked diligently or neglected academic responsibilities. After the first failures, students understand that it is necessary to change educational approaches, become more mature and self-sufficient, learn to plan their actions and use time wisely. These skills will be very useful in adult life. A future boss is unlikely to control the graduate’s work. Employers are usually focused on results.

Disadvantages of optional attendance

Low discipline

Not all young people have the willpower to force themselves to learn. This is especially true for juniors who need educators’ guidance and advice. If a senior student is able to control oneself somehow, it is almost impossible for a small kid. However, not all teenagers are responsible. Even after receiving bad marks at exams, some of them continue lounging around and doing nothing at home.  

Poor teacher-student interaction

It is important for a teacher to interact with learners in a classroom to understand whether they understand all course materials, what changes may be made to make the educational process more effective. If a student makes some mistakes, they may be detected and corrected far before an exam, when a bad mark still cannot spoil a semester grade. If a person studies at home, it may be challenging for one to eliminate knowledge gaps self-handedly.

Extra help is needed

Reading textbooks is not always enough to learn discipline. Communication with a live expert able to answer student’s questions is very important. That is why many parents turn to tutors and pay extra for private classes. Such educators often use their own curricula, place emphasis on topics turning out to be useless at exams, and skip important details. It will be difficult for a student to fulfill the school teacher’s requirements and receive a good mark. Why complicate things if all necessary knowledge may be received in one place?

Worse career prospects

Most recruiters believe that the traditional educational system is more reliable. Homeschooled graduates, people with diplomas received at online courses seem to be undisciplined, lazy, and their knowledge is often questioned. Fewer companies are ready to offer responsible positions with good wages to such persons. Less talented competitors who had regular schooling may take advantage of this stereotype. However, employers’ prejudice is sometimes justified. Many homeschooled people are not accustomed to strict schedules and seek laid-back jobs.

Author: Aiden Morhan

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