When writing your own attendance policy, be sure to include the following:
- Make sure to frame your policy in a positive way (e.g., “you will only be eligible for 80% credit” rather than “you will lose 20% credit”).
- Justify your policy as it relates to the role of attending class and your students’ learning.
- Outline the circumstances under which student absences are excused (e.g., religious holidays, CMU-sponsored events, medical or family emergencies, etc.).
- Explain the ways students can notify you of an absence.
Sample 1: Attendance and participation policy from Business
Based on Frenkel Terhofstede, Tepper School of Business
Attendance and Participation Policy
“Class Presence and Participation. Class presence and participation points are given to encourage your active class participation and discussion. You will be rewarded with a perfect score as long as you frequently come to class and actively contribute to the class discussion during recitations and lectures.
Presence: Although it is not required, most students send their professor a brief e-mail to explain their absence in advance. Students who repeatedly arrive late to the lecture or recitation will be eligible for 80% of the participation grade. Please sign the attendance sheet when you come to the class. Any false signatures will result in zero participation grades for all parties involved.
Participation: We will devote one entire session to the case discussion. The instructor’s role during a case discussion is that of a moderator. When the cases are discussed, we are less concerned with “right” or “wrong” answers than we are with thoughtful contributions which follow the discussion and either add to the debate or move it in a new direction. If you find it uncomfortable to speak up in class, we encourage you to visit your professor in office hours and work on this skill.”
Sample 2: Attendance and participation policy from History
“Within the first week of our course, please look ahead and see if you need to miss class for any excusable reason (religious observance, job interview, university-sanctioned event, etc.) and notify me as soon as possible. We may be able to make alternative arrangements for completing assignments. Everyone is permitted one absence without the deduction of points. If you do not use this absence, then the extra points you earn will be added to your lowest score when computing your final grade (i.e., extra credit). If there are extenuating circumstances that require you to miss more than one class session, please come and discuss this issue with me in advance of your absence(s).”