Being there

Part of me thinks that students are adults and if they don’t want to come to class, that’s up to them. But another part of me thinks that students are kids who need to be helped to help themselves, and a lot say in the feedback they wished they come more…

So, each year I agonize about the best way to make them come to class. This year, I tried a new approach – I tied a whole grade to attendance and only gave them that when they hit seven pop quizzes (I take attendance only at pop quizzes). The pop quizzes come at random so they have to attend a lot of classes to hit seven. I did ten in total.

I didn’t think the system had worked, not least because of the way it looked in class.

2014-10-30 15.16.21

2014-10-30 15.16.32

I took these shots during the pop quiz on October 30. Every seat should be filled….

Turned out 96% of the students who got to the end of the course hit that attendance requirement. And now that I have got down and looked at the actual data from the last four years, this was definitely the best year. Attendance dropped to the mid-60% in the last two pop quizzes (post-Thanksgiving), but in 2013, it dropped to 50%, and in 2013, 2012 and 2011, the attendance sag happened maybe a month earlier.

So unless I can think of a better way of going, I think this algorithm is probably a keeper. I could shift the quizzes later in semester, but I need to do them early on to reinforce class material. Maybe raise the bar to 9 of 12 quizzes so I can do a few more at the end?

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