Absences do not warrant grade reductions


Maya Subramanian, Staff Writer

A student stays up until 3:00 a.m. in order to complete her chemistry lab write up, English essay, history project and math bookwork … for the third time in one week. Sleepy, physically and mentally drained, the student contemplates indulging in an extra 10 minutes of sleep, ultimately causing a tardy in first hour.

For many well-rounded and busy students, it is all too common to oversleep and miss the first hour bell by mere minutes. Missing a couple minutes’ time, during which classes halt to watch the morning announcements should not pose a threat to busy students; however, due to RCS grade reduction policies, many must take note of the fact that too many absences or tardies may result in a grade reduction that counters all of the late-night hours invested in academic success.

The current policy states that thirteen absences within one semester will bump an A to an A-, an A- to a B+, and so on. Additionally, every four tardies is accounted for as an absence. For a student who went on a vacation and missed five school days, was sick three times and overslept twice, only eight tardies are permitted before a grade is unfairly reduced. Consequently, there is a high possibility that their GPA will be scarred.

The policy is absolutely unfair. Grades should be a reflection of students’ capabilities while in the classroom, and they should not be limited by one’s inability to make it to class, despite their competence in the course.

There are so many factors that may impact one’s ability to reach school by precisely 7:30 AM on a daily basis and not every student is able to make it to every single class. Grade reductions are an unfair assessment of proficiency in a class. Let assignment and test scores determine this said proficiency, not students’ abilities to wake up at the right time.

Especially for seniors and juniors, at the peak of their busy high school careers, it is irrational to penalize students’ academic reflections in spite of a tardy or absence. Driving themselves, especially in harsh weather conditions, may lead to tardies, further decreasing the allotted absences.

I understand that excessive absences should be reprimanded, but grade reductions are not the way to go about it, especially after the varying degrees of teachers’ consistency in marking tardies is taken into account. When two siblings both show up late to school and one is marked tardy, while the other is exempted, the necessity to cease the consequential grade reduction is reinstated.

Until consistency meets the tardy system and the number of absences permitted is increased, the grade reductions needs to be repealed. No student who is doing their best to be a good student, despite many hurdles, should have to reap the consequences of such a major detriment.