Guiding questions for developing attendance and participation policies

Which activities or assignments require a policy? For example:

  • Written work, presentations
  • Course participation through activities such as clickers, quizzes, online activities
  • Lab and field trip attendance
  • Exam attendance

What constitutes an excused absence?

The university provides the following guiding language: Examples of unavoidable cause include death or serious illness in the immediate family, illness of the student, and, provided previous notification is given, observance of regularly scheduled religious obligations and might possibly include attendance at academic conferences or field trips, or participation in University-sponsored activities such as debating contests or athletic competition.

What responsibility is placed on the student for reporting absences?

  • When should students report anticipated absences?
  • What methods of verification are required (consider different requirements for personal emergencies and professional activities)?

What alternatives are available to students with excused absences (does not necessarily need to be written down, but instructors should anticipate alternatives). For example:

  • Rescheduled exams
  • Performance of work that may be equivalent to the activity
  • Pro-rating the grades
  • Exception from the requirement

What are the consequences of a missed activity that is not reported?

Additional notes/ guidelines:

Poor performance is generally not accepted as an excused absence, and extra credit is strongly discouraged. If available, extra credit should be offered to the whole class

Example Syllabus Attendance and Participation Policy Statements

(Start with friendly text) This course is designed to maximize your learning of the subject matter and advance your skills through a variety of activities. Therefore, our attendance policy is aimed at supporting our educational goals.

Assignments designed to help you prepare for class (e.g. online quizzes/discussions or homework due in class or section) will not be accepted after the due date and time.

Work scheduled to be presented or performed in class (eg. clickers, presentations, leading discussions) will not be accepted after the due date and time.

Lab activities are critical to your learning and your ability to successfully complete written lab assignments and future exams. You should consult the instructor to determine if it is possible to make up lab activities, or attend another lab session than your regular lab; this may not be possible due to space and equipment limitations.

Writing and lab assignments (turned in late without prior approval) will incur sanctions of 10% for each day late, starting from the due time. For example, an assignment handed in on the due date after the appointed time will incur a late penalty of 10%. We do not accept assignments later than nine days after the due date.

Field trip attendance. It is your responsibility to review field trip requirements in the time schedule prior to registering for a course. Because field trips involve a great deal of preliminary planning, financial resources, and safety concerns, you will not be able to make up a missed field trip.  You should contact the instructor in advance to determine what alternatives might be available if you have an excused absence.

Exam Attendance. Exams are only offered on the scheduled dates and “make up” exams will not be offered.

Excused absences: Our attendance policies are flexible only under specific circumstances. Excused absences are religious holidays, pre-approved professional activities, injury or illness of student or immediate family member. Verification of these events will be needed. Notification of anticipated absences must occur as early as possible.


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