“Will the Next Class Matter?”: Should We Insist on Class Attendance?





Simard, François

Following the recommendations made by the Commission d’évaluation de l’enseignement collégial, Cégep de Saint-Jérôme withdrew the departmental prerogative of adopting required class attendance policies. Teachers directed questions about the consequences of this change to the author of this article, who is an educational advisor with the brief of student success. The author turned to existing research in an effort to find some answers. Studies on this question, conducted mainly in American colleges, suggest that penalties for absenteeism don’t appear to yield significant results – they can have a positive impact, but that impact is limited. The author suggests that other approaches could allow for achieving similar and even better results. These approaches include prevention and follow-up with students who don’t attend. The author also highlights the potential shown by cooperative learning, which encourages students to take an active role in the learning process, a way of working that has a highly involving effect on the group. The author calls on us to show creativity in seeking novel ways of preventing the problems associated with absenteeism.


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