Cause and Effect: Attendance as an Issue in Schools Globally
By Kevin Stoda, an American in the Middle East currently
In many countries of the world, attendance at university and
college classes are not as serious a matter as it is in the
For example, I was a student in
There are several major causes as to why, in general,
Americans--including professors and most students--take university classroom
attendance so seriously as compared to those in some other lands. First of all, in most American universities
and colleges enrollment in a semester course is already fairly fixed by the end
of the first week of classes. For this
reason, students who enroll late or who decide
to abandon a course after the first week face very high fees or financial
penalties. In contrast to the
A second reason why Americans take classroom attendance seriously is because it is often anticipated (or assumed) by students and many teaching staff that the coursework or projects are as important for success in the course as are any exams. This is because in the typical American elementary and secondary school system students rarely have experienced more than a handful of high-stakes exams in their lives as compared to those in other lands who almost exclusively receive their semester marks based upon the marks that they get on one or two exams taken each year.
Third, American public schools receive both state and federal funding based upon student attendance. This leads administrators to give great attention to attendance as part of the process that eventually brings students to college and universities in a daily interaction.
The effect of this more hyper focus on attendance for
American students at the university level include the fact that issues of
time-on-task practicing and time-spent-wrestling with any course material in a
classroom setting are often taken more seriously at tertiary institutes in the
USA than in other corners of the world.
German students studying at American universities, in contrast, often feel
that the American system treats them like they are still high school
students--leaving them feeling demeaned.
At the same time, I--as an American student studying in