Attendance grades need to go.
The last time I checked, North Dakota State — and most other colleges — is an optional school where students pay to attend, therefore making it their choice and their loss if they do not wish to attend class.
There is no formal NDSU policy mandating attendance be graded in classes, though NDSU policy 333 mandates attendance by students in their classes is “expected.”
Every course grade in which students are awarded credit for merely showing up to class is then the teacher’s discretion.
These grades allow people to pass classes with greater ease by simply showing up, not explicitly learning the subject material. Students who can learn all of the subject material on their own through a book shouldn’t be penalized for prioritizing their time to venture to other activities, such as a job.
Students’ grades will reflect their attendance in their classes, anyways. If a student never shows up to class and does not bother to put in the time, their poor exam scores will reflect their understanding of course material. However, if good students have the desire to learn material in lecture, they will most likely show up anyways.
Even though institutions of higher education serve to help people learn about the world, attendance grades exist only to punish good students who do not show up.
Attendance grades artificially inflate actual attendance in class. Sure, the bodies are there, but the attention and mindsets are not.
Students who want to learn will show up regardless if there is a grade depending on if they show to class or not. Of the students who do not want to show up, a majority will because of their grade.
Think of it as a pizza, with the whole pie representing the amount of attention the class will pay in a given day. Cutting the pizza into more slices, or adding more students who do not want to be there, will not change the value of the whole, merely diluting the quantity already present.
Ultimately, attendance grades are a safety net for poorly performing students and a detriment to students who still learn the material outside of class time.