So, what am I going to reflect on this week? Good Question.
Last week, all was fairly quiet in my teaching world.
One class spent the week doing review for their test next week.
The other class was quiet, but only because it had very poor attendance. The students were quick to tell me that they had two tests that day and because of that, many of the students were not attending so they could study. I thanked them for choosing to come to class.
Perhaps that should be the focus of this week’s blog post.
I had 25% of the students show up for that class this week. Yes, 25%.
I think the ones that attended class came because they clearly recognize that skipping one class to study for another doesn’t help. They knew that they would get behind in the course material and end up playing catch-up.
Unfortunately, most of the students that skipped the class are the ones that are already struggling and needed to be there. Because of this, I made sure that I posted a notice outlining what we covered and gave direction on how they could catch up and be ready for next class.
I even posted a video covering the material so they didn’t have to try and learn it themselves.
I emphasized that because they missed class, they would need to catch up on their own and that we would be moving to the next topic on Tuesday. As an incentive, I told them we’d be having an in-class assignment on last week’s material.
I’m not sure how many of them will actually do the work. That’s the bigger problem. If they can’t manage their time well enough to be prepared for a test (and have to skip class to study) are they going to take the time to do the work to learn the missed material? At the time I wrote this, 10 people had gone to the page with the video link. That’s 25% of the class. Most of them were in class that day and were obviously using it to review.
So how do I get those kids to understand that skipping class is not a good idea AND that THEY are responsible for making up the work?
Those that attended already get it so saying anything to them is pointless.
I did some quick research (Google) and it was interesting that many of the posts I found about skipping class were written by students. One article I found on Students.org, (“Is It Worth It To Skip Class To Study?”) was a first-person account of skipping a class to study. The author made some great points. She said it herself: “Skipping class meant missing out on a lot of knowledge I’d need for future tests”. She went on to talk about the anxiety that goes along with trying to make sure she got the notes and anything else she missed. Her conclusion: She doesn’t recommending skipping class.
This is what I try and get across to my students, but so few of them believe it.
Skipping class has become an epidemic. When I first started teaching, students rarely skipped class. It was a small percentage. Now, it seems even in-class assignments aren’t enough to entice students. I know things have changed.
Many students have too many competing priorities. For example, they take on too many hours at their jobs. Instead of a part time job, they’re trying to work 30-40 hours and go to school full-time. The sad part is, some of them end up failing because they can’t put enough time into their schoolwork and end up paying more in the long run.
I think the other problem is that some of the students are just not mature enough to realize that attendance is important. I can’t count how many times I have heard “Did I miss anything important?”. Really?
I found post that listed the top 5 reasons why students skipped class (as tracked through their social media posts)
- Hanging with Friends:37 percent of the Twitter posts referenced skipping class to spend more time with their friends.
- Too Tired:32 percent of students tweeted that they were sleeping or too tired to go to class.
- Recreation:17 percent of students indicated a specific recreational event or activity that took precedence over attending class. There were a vast number of specific events mentioned, including sports, watching television and playing video games.
- Studying:11 percent of students mentioned being too busy with other school work to attend class.
- Weather:three percent of students’ posts cited the weather—whether too beautiful or too unpleasant—as the reason they skipped.
The article went on to say: “Studies show that class attendance is the number one predictor of grades in a college course, outranking time spent studying, studying skills, high school grades or standardized tests. Despite this clear connection, even the most optimistic academic studies find that nearly one in five U.S. college students are skipping on any given day—with absentee rates reaching up to 70 percent for some large classes at major state universities.”
Although they didn’t list where those studies came from, results from my own classes have shown a similar thing. Below is an example from one of my previous classes. Some of the students in this particular class who don’t show up initially, never showed up. However, the graph does show that as attendance goes down, the average grade on the tests have also gone down. I show the students this chart every term in hopes that it might make them think twice before skipping class.
Attendance and grades are linked.
How do we get students to understand this??