Is Your College Student Going to Class?
As a college parent, your answer to whether your student is going to class may be, “I assume so” or, “I hope so” or even, “I have no idea.” Unless your student is living at home, once your student goes away to college, most parents have no way of knowing whether their student heads to class each day or not. While not knowing the answer to the question may bother many parents, these answers may be the most appropriate answers that we can give.
Going to class matters
Class attendance matters, even if professors don’t keep track.
Three specific studies support the importance of class attendance. One study, conducted by Robert M. Schmidt, suggests that time spent in the classroom is the most important determinant of student success. David Romer conducted another study in 1993 which found that students with strong attendance often averaged one letter grade higher than those who missed class frequently. Still another study, conducted by Gary Wyatt, found that students with higher parental income tended to miss more classes, students who spent more time studying tended to miss fewer classes, and reinforced the finding that fewer absences translate into higher GPA.
It is common sense that students who spend time in class will do better, but research also supports this.
There’s an app for that
Going to class matters. Most students go to most classes. But parents may worry about whether or not their student is getting there. Now, there’s an app which will track student attendance and let parents know.
We’re not sure that’s a good thing, but in our attempt to inform parents of options, we’re sharing information.
The new class attendance app is called Class 120 and is provided by Core Principle, Inc. According to CEO Jeff Whorley, students forfeit $31 billion dollars annually in missed classes. The Class 120 website states that 25% of students miss a year’s worth of classes during their college career.
Class 120 works by having students download their schedule and then notifying parents when students are not in the classroom when a class is scheduled. It works on the principle that students will never be without their phones. Where the student’s phone is, the student will be also. Students also receive a notification that they have missed class. Use of the app requires student consent.
One feature, Live Reminder, provides a call from a representative when students miss consecutive classes or too many classes in one course.
According to the Class 120 website, some college athletic departments are also considering use of this app.
An alternative format, Class 120 GEO is for student notification only. Parents are not notified.
Does this make sense?
Of course, parents and students need to decide together whether use of this app makes sense. For nervous parents, this may ease their mind – or reinforce their fears. If parents and students decide to use this new tool, it is important to decide at the outset whether there are consequences for missing class. What will parents do with the information they may obtain? Are they using the app simply as a deterrent to missed classes?
Students in college are learning to make their own decisions – and learning to live with the consequences of those decisions. As difficult as it may be, it is time for parents to allow students more independence. Before jumping in to monitor student attendance, we hope that parents will consider whether it is appropriate. Some may decide that it is.
We hope that parents and students will have conversations about the importance of being in class. Make sure your student understands the importance of attendance. However, allowing students to make some mistakes – like missing too many classes and suffering the potential consequences of that decision – may be one of the most important college lessons of all.