Missing classes affect grades and pocketbook

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Want to save an easy $15? Go to class. Skipping classes can affect more than your grades. For a four-credit class that meets bi-weekly, the cost of one class is $15.10.
Many students focus on the academic effects of skipping class, not fully realizing this is something they have paid, according to Vickery Viles, academic advisor at Central Oregon Community College.
“In my experience, students who are paying for school themselves tend to be acutely aware of the need to be successful in the class and get what they want out of the class,” Viles said.
Viles previously counseled a student who was making very little progress in his classes.
“In talking with him, he didn’t seem to understand the gravity of the situation,” Viles said. “It wasn’t until I converted it to dollars for him, that he realized the effects of this. After hearing how much it cost; he was astounded.”
Attending class is connected with success, according to Viles.
“There is no doubt that performance is directly correlated with performance,” Viles said. “Presence in class equals success.”

▲ Vickery Viles, academic advisor, believes class attendance is correlated with success. Photo by Molly Svendsen | The Broadside

There are many things discussed in class that are not printed out on handouts, Viles explained. Often in-class discussions are what gives students what they need to be successful in the assignment.
“If you are not in class, you risk missing the contextual landscape… things that are explained in class,” Viles said. “You can’t recover the dialogue that happens in the classroom.”
Although students can be marginally successful even if they miss a few classes, according to Chris Rubio, writing professor at COCC, who believes that a there are many aspects students miss if there are not in the classroom.
“Class discussions are among the richest part of any class I teach, and this is confirmed by my course evaluations,” Rubio said. “Students who do not attend classes miss the opportunity to participate and learn from those discussions.”
Students can be manage to earn good grades even if they miss a few classes, explained Rubio, although she encourages students to regularly attend class.
“Students can be successful, if by successful you mean ‘Can they pass the class?,’” Rubio said. “Some very strong students can even earn a “B” or higher grade, but my experience is that it is rare. I do believe it is extremely important for students to attend class regularly.”
When students miss a class they may also be missing out on in-depth explanations of projects and tests, Rubio explained.
“We typically go over class assignments in greater detail than is simply provided on a handout,” Rubio said. “Students who miss class are at a disadvantage because they haven’t received all of the information that is provided in class.”
Full attendance rare at COCC
It is often rare that COCC classes have full attendance, according to Rubio.
“It is rare that I ever have full attendance in class even on exam days,” Rubio said. “I would guess less than 10 percent of the time do I have full attendance in either my writing or literature courses.”
If skipping class is unavoidable, Rubio suggests students connect with classmates, or visit professors during office hours to go over the class discussion.
“I always encourage students to connect early in the term with not just one but two classmates by exchanging phone numbers and email addresses, so that they can find out what they missed in class,” Rubio said. “I also suggest they come in and meet with me in person, not simply send me an email asking, ‘Did I miss anything important in class today?’”

–Molly Svendsen

The Broadside

(Contact: msvendsen@cocc.edu)

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