OPINION: Grades should be determined by performance not participation

A grade is the result of what you earn based on your performance in a class. In order to earn a passing grade you have to show up to class and do well on homework, tests, quizzes, projects — you name it. It’s important to study, communicate with your instructor and turn in assignments on time.

College students pay thousands of dollars to go to school. Therefore, if college students don’t show up for the classes they are paying for, that’s on them. One of my professors this semester told my class that in the real world it’ll be our choice to not show up to work and as a result you’ll probably get a warning, suspended or in some cases fired. 

However, not showing up to class and getting participation points docked because of attendance is unnecessary and should not be factored into a college student’s grade. This semester I have had my grades docked more for participation points than on tests, quizzes and in class activities due to lack of attendance that was out of my control. 

So if attendance is vital to a student’s success, why is getting docked for participation points frustrating? Simply because life happens. Getting docked for classroom participation points can be extremely difficult to deal with for something entirely out of a student’s control when that student is working hard, studying in the class and participating in the class when they can. 

For example, I have had to miss several class periods due to chronic illness. Some may argue that this could simply be accommodated from the office of disability services at Wichita State. However, lenient class attendance is not a part of my accommodations. Sure I could ask for this accommodation and possibly get it but really just like students are expected to understand professors’ life situations, it should go both ways. 

The same goes for if a student’s car breaks down or they are struggling with a mental illness or a family situation. 

Personally, skipping class is never something to condone. However, skipping class to take care of yourself and those around you is more important than a grade. Participation while in class is also important but personal factors should always be considered by both the professor and the student.