Attendance and participation bills back: Long-tabled bills passed after revision

Marc Ramirez, Assistant News Editor

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During Tuesday’s meeting of the Student Government Association, discussion of several bills took the floor of the senate. College of Business and Technology Senator Amanda Wrenn brought forth to the floor SGA Bill 2017-2018.004 and SGA Bill 2017-2017.005 regarding grading on attendance and class participation once again.

These bills have been tabled since the SGA meeting on Feb 6 due to inadequate data and have since been under reevaluation by Wrenn. With the new revised bills, Wrenn and sponsor Andrew Rosenberg spoke on mandatory attendance affecting the lives of students.

SGA Bill 2017-2018.004 reads, “Graded, or mandatory, attendance to class periods may inhibit the professional development of students, cause students to make travel choices that put them at risk of injury related to traveling in poor weather conditions or other circumstances, and inhibit students from choosing another venue from which to pursue their learning and mastery of class-related materials and learning objectives.”

The new bill also enacts that students be viewed as free rather than captive audiences, giving students more of an option on how to prioritize their time. Wrenn believes that by grading students on the basis of attendance is not a relevant, fair or appropriate academic evaluation tactic due to the premise that being physically present in class doesn’t convey ones mastery or knowledge on the class related material.

SGA Bill of 2017-2018.004 also reads, “Mandatory or required attendance is an unfair and inhibiting requirement of students who come from a variety of situations, may have more than academics to focus on, are subject to the uncertainties and shifting of life and circumstances, and may find a more conducive learning environment outside of the classroom.”

The legislative body with a vote of 16-3-0 passed the proposed bill. Wrenn’s second bill was on the topic of graded class participation. In the proposed bill it is stated that participating in a classroom setting is not always an accurate way for students to reliably convey their mastery on classroom material or concepts therefore it shouldn’t be used as a basis for grading students.

“I have several friends who suffer from anxiety and do not enjoy speaking in public, a disorder for which they have to take medicine,” Senator at Large Hayden Goleman said. “So it’s not like this isn’t something serious that they’re dealing with and this needs to be an issue that’s talked about.”

In contrast, Director of Academic Affairs Madison Lynn brought forth concern that could be construed with a bill of such topic being passed without careful consideration.

“This bill has been talked about a little bit in one of the committees that I am a representative for in Faculty Senate,” Lynn said. “A concern that some faculty members have about this type of bill going forward is that there are some departments such as kinesiology or studio art where participation is relevant to the coursework and understanding the concept of each class and that is pivotal to grading since if you’re not there to participate you are not taking the class.”

With careful consideration and discussion throughout the association, Wrenn accepted a friendly amendment to the bill reading, “The term ‘participation’ should not be construed to mean relevant skill assessment, conducive to topic mastery; or other activities fostering a productive learning environment.”

This bill was passed by a vote of 15-4-0 meaning that the Student Government Association holds that graded participation places unreasonable evaluation and is not an accurate evaluation of student mastery in classes

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