Class Attendance – Credit-Bearing Courses

Number: 

1.8

Policy Name:

Class Attendance – Credit-Bearing Courses

Sponsor:

Dr. Kara Battle
Vice President, Chief Academic Officer 

Custodian:

Academics and Guided Career Pathways

Effective Date(s):

September 2010; November 1, 2017 (Revision);
January 26, 2018 (Revision); May 16, 2022 (Revision)

Next Review Date:

2023-2024

Location:

durhamtech.edu/policies-and-procedures/class-attendance

Citation:

1B SBCCC 500.1
1B SBCCC 500.99
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX)

 

Policy Statement

Durham Technical Community College ensures that all students develop the knowledge, skills, and networks needed to be successful in college, work, and life. Faculty and staff work closely with students from the point of application to the culmination of studies to ensure that they receive the support needed to meet the College’s attendance and course requirements. To ensure successful course and program progression and completion, the College requires students to attend classes regularly and in accordance with the guidelines of this policy.

Contact Information

Dr. Kara Battle
Vice President, Chief Academic Officer 
battlek@durhamtech.edu
919-536-7200, ext. 8002

Procedure

Students are marked as “entering” a course based on in-person attendance or completion of verifiable work in the Learning Management System (LMS) after the start of the term. For students who have officially entered the course, absences are calculated from the first class meeting, not from the student’s first attendance date.

For all references to grades, please refer to the Grading System policy for details. 

No-Shows

Students who do not attend class or complete verifiable work in the LMS after the start of the term and by the census date are considered no-shows. These students are assigned the grade of “NS” and are removed from the course. However, if a student who is unable to attend or submit work before the census date has demonstrated academically relevant engagement during that time period, the student may be allowed to enter the class up until the “NS” submission deadline (refer to the Faculty Important Dates section of the Instructor Resources webpage for specific dates). The student’s entry date will be the date they first attend the class or when they submit work in the LMS according to the Student Entry Date Report. If a student has not demonstrated academically relevant engagement and attends for the first time after the “NS” submission deadline, the instructor may request approval from the dean to allow the student to remain in the class. Upon the dean’s approval, the student’s entry date will be the date the student first attends the class or when they submit work in the LMS according to the Student Entry Date Report.

In the case of corequisite classes, if a student is a no-show in one class but attends the other class, the student will be administratively withdrawn from the class and assigned a grade of “W” in the corequisite class (e.g., “NS” in ENG 011 and “W” in ENG 111; “NS” in SPA 111 and “W” in SPA 181). The instructor of the corequisite class that the student attends must record the student’s last date of attendance in Self-Service.

Tardiness and Early Departure 

Students should be on time for each class session and should be prepared to remain for the full duration of the class. Tardiness or early departure that results in the student missing at least twenty percent (20%) of the instructional session may be considered an absence. Chronic tardiness and/or early departure may adversely impact the student’s course grade and may cause the student to receive a grade of “F”.

Student-Initiated Withdrawals

In accordance with the Student-Initiated Withdrawals procedure, students may officially drop or withdraw from one or all courses during a term. Students who do not officially withdraw from a course will receive the grade earned through their coursework or an “F2” for ceasing to engage in the course. 

Last Date of Attendance

Due to Financial Aid and Veterans Affairs reporting requirements, instructors must report all students who stop attending and engaging in their courses. The Last Date of Attendance (LDA) is the date when the student last demonstrated academically relevant engagement in the course as defined below.

  • Reporting – Students who stop attending or engaging with a course for fifteen percent (15%) of the contact hours consecutively should have an LDA reported in Self-Service. This means a student has not attended, submitted work, or demonstrated academically relevant engagement for a time equal to fifteen percent (15%) of the course hours in one period of time. This designation does not include students who have intermittent absences that total fifteen percent (15%) of the contact hours. Instructors are encouraged to contact students before they reach this point to offer assistance and direct them to appropriate College resources.
     
  • Processing and Re-entry – When a student has not attended or demonstrated academically relevant engagement for fifteen percent (15%) of the class contact hours, the instructor will enter the LDA into Self-Service, enabling Financial Aid and Veterans Affairs staff to run accurate attendance reports from Colleague. Entering an LDA into Self-Service does not remove the student from the course or the LMS site. The student will continue to have access to the course and may resume attending classes. However, to have a previously-entered LDA removed from their Self-Service record, the student must have a discussion with the instructor, and the instructor must submit a re-entry eForm to document the legitimate removal of the LDA.
     
  • If a student stops attending and engaging for fifteen percent (15%) of the class contact hours at the beginning of the term, returns, is re-entered, and then later stops attending and engaging for another fifteen percent (15%) of the class contact hours, the instructor should enter the new LDA in Self-Service. If the student resumes class attendance, the instructor can remove the LDA in Self-Service without submitting a second re-entry eForm. Instructors must document the first re-entry only.

Grading System Policy and Guidelines

Durham Tech employs a letter grading system to evaluate student performance in meeting the stated objectives of the classroom, laboratory, shop, clinical setting, or work-based learning experience. Refer to the Grading System policy for additional information. 

Instructors are encouraged to establish attendance-related grading guidelines (e.g., assigning grades for participation and/or attendance, allowing late work, etc.) that adhere to the Grading System policy and support the learning outcomes for their course and the diverse needs of their students. 

Instructors should ensure that students understand their grades throughout the semester and, in particular, as the student-initiated withdrawal deadline approaches. Students should be encouraged to speak with the instructor regularly to ensure successful completion of the course.

Program-Specific Attendance Guidelines

Department- and program-specific attendance guidelines may vary due to requirements set forth by external agencies, including accreditors. Faculty must communicate department- and program-specific attendance guidelines in course syllabi, and students must follow those expectations. Students who fail to meet the course expectations may be administratively withdrawn from the course.

Should there be a discrepancy between department- and program-specific attendance guidelines based on accrediting standards and those set forth in this policy, the department- and program-specific attendance guidelines must be followed.

Excused Absences Defined by the College

An excused absence is defined as a planned absence. Durham Tech students are allowed one (1) excused absence per class per term for any planned event or observance. Students who wish to use an excused absence must submit an Excused Absence Notification form and any supporting documentation at least fourteen (14) calendar days in advance of the scheduled absence date. All class work missed due to an excused absence must be made up. The instructor, in consultation with the student, will identify a deadline for submission of the work that is appropriate to the requirements of the class but no later than five (5) working days after the day of the scheduled absence.

Excused Absences Defined by State and Federal Codes 

The following categories of absences are defined as excused absences by State Board of Community Colleges (SBCC) Code or federal law. 

  • Religious ObservancesSBCC code (1B SBCCC 500.99) requires each community college to adopt a policy that authorizes a minimum of two (2) excused absences each academic year for religious observances required by the faith of a student. The College will provide the student the opportunity to make up any tests or other work missed due to an excused absence for a religious observance.

    Students who wish to use an excused absence must submit an Excused Absence Notification form and any supporting documentation at least fourteen (14) calendar days in advance of the scheduled absence date. All class work missed due to an excused absence must be made up. The instructor, in consultation with the student, will identify a deadline for submission of the work that is appropriate to the requirements of the class but no later than five (5) working days after the day of the scheduled absence.
     
  • Military ServiceSBCC code (1B SBCCC 500.1) requires each community college to adopt a policy to give an excused absence to any student who is in the United States Armed Forces and has received temporary or permanent re-assignment as a result of military operations and to any student who is a National Guard service member placed onto State active duty status during an academic term for the period of time the student is on active duty. The College will further provide the student the following:
     
    • The opportunity for the student to make up any test or other work missed during the excused absence;
       
    • The option, when feasible, to continue classes and coursework during the academic term through online participation for the period of time the student is placed on active duty;
       
    • The option of receiving a temporary grade of "I" or "X" for any course that the student was unable to complete as a result of being placed on State active duty status; however, the student must complete the course requirements within the period of time specified by the College to avoid receiving a failing grade for the course;
       
    • Permission to drop, with no penalty, any course that the student was unable to complete as a result of being placed on State active duty status; and
       
    • Permission to drop, with no financial penalty, any course that the student was unable to complete as a result of the excused absence as set forth in 1E SBCCC 900.4.
       
    Students who wish to use an excused absence for military service must submit a Military Service Excused Absence Notification form and any supporting documentation as soon as possible once dates of absence are known and supporting documentation is available. Students receiving Veterans’ benefits, Pell Grants, or any other source of financial aid should meet with their financial aid advisor to discuss their particular situation related to any extended absence for military service.
     
  • Pregnancy/ChildbirthTitle IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) requires Durham Tech to adopt a policy to excuse absences due to pregnancy or childbirth for as long as the student’s doctor says it is necessary. The College shall provide students the following:
     
    • The opportunity to return to the same academic and extracurricular status as before the student’s medical leave began;
       
    • The opportunity to make up any work missed; and
       
    • The same special services it provides to students with temporary medical conditions.

    Students who wish to use an excused absence for pregnancy or childbirth must submit a Pregnancy/Childbirth Excused Absence Notification form and any supporting documentation as soon as possible once dates of absence are known and supporting documentation is available. The College will ensure that instructors understand the Title IX requirements related to excused absences/medical leave. Instructors may not refuse to allow students to submit work after a deadline missed due to pregnancy or childbirth. If an instructor’s grading is based in part on class participation or attendance, and a student misses class due to pregnancy or childbirth, the student should be allowed to make up the participation or attendance credits.
     

States of Emergency

When a state of emergency (e.g., a communicable disease emergency) is declared, the College may modify its instructional methods and operations. Examples of such modifications include temporary suspension of courses, transitioning to online instruction, and/or modification of the attendance policy. Such emergency modifications will be communicated via student communication platforms and the College's website. During states of emergency, the College will operate according to one of the following designations:

  • Open – All College campuses/locations will be open, and instruction will take place as scheduled. Students are to attend classes according to operational guidelines. If an individual College facility (e.g., building, classroom, or lab) is closed while the College is open, instruction for the impacted class may transition to an online format or will be cancelled. Instructors will notify students of alternate class arrangements via email and the LMS. If the class is cancelled, instructors will notify students of make-up plans; make-up options include but are not limited to meeting on official make-up dates, web-based instruction, adding time to remaining class meetings, independent activities/assignments, and condensed course material.
     
  • Online Instruction Only – All College campuses/locations will be closed, and face-to-face instruction will transition to an online format. Public Safety courses, including Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET), Fire Academy training, Emergency Medical Science (EMS), and in-service law enforcement training courses that are ongoing and have state-mandated schedules or hours required for specific certifications will meet as scheduled unless otherwise dictated by the state of emergency. Health program clinicals and work-based learning activities located at off-campus facilities may continue to meet in accordance with the facilities’ emergency response protocols. Instructors will notify students of alternate class arrangements via email and the LMS.
     
  • Closed – All College campuses/locations will be closed, and instruction will be cancelled. Instructors will notify students of make-up plans; make-up options include but are not limited to meeting on official make-up dates, web-based instruction, adding time to remaining class meetings, independent activities/assignments, and condensed course material.
     

During states of emergency, students may have expanded class attendance options. Attendance will be measured by engagement (e.g., submitting assignments by specified deadlines, participating in virtual class meetings, etc.) rather than physical presence alone. Students who are impacted by the state of emergency and are unable to participate in any way must notify their instructor via email as soon as possible. The notification should include an explanation of the absence and any available supporting documentation. Instructors must maintain the email communications in accordance with the Records Retention and Disposition policy and record the absences as state of emergency absences in their attendance records/roster.

Definition

Academically Relevant Engagement – Includes submission of assignments via the LMS and other course platforms and verifiable communications with the instructor about coursework. Acceptable forms of communication include email exchanges and individual meetings in the LMS or other platforms. For in-person or phone communications, the instructor must follow up with an email to the student to document the conversation. The communications must be about the academic subject studied in the course. An email simply stating that the student is unable to attend class is insufficient; an email in which the student asks a question about the course material is sufficient.

Administrative Withdrawal – The removal of a student from a class due to an “NS” grade in a corequisite class or the student’s failure to meet department- or program-specific attendance requirements. 

Census Date – The point in a term when ten percent (10%) of a course’s instructional time has elapsed. Course census dates are available via Self-Service (instructors) and course syllabi (students).

Contact Hours – The number of hours students spend in class each week, including a combination of class, lab, and clinical hours.

Drop – When a student removes themselves from a class before the seventy-five percent (75%) tuition refund date. A dropped class does not appear on the student’s transcript.

Learning Management System (LMS) – A software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, automation, and delivery of educational courses, training programs, or learning and development programs (e.g., Sakai, Moodle, Blackboard). 

Withdraw – When a student removes themselves from a class after the seventy-five percent (75%) tuition refund date but before the last date to initiate a withdrawal with a grade of “W” (i.e., the sixty percent (60%) term date).

Working Days – Days the College is open and operating under a normal schedule. This excludes weekends, closings due to adverse conditions, and holidays.

Verifiable Work in the Learning Management System (LMS) – Student activity in the LMS that appears on the Student Entry Date Report. This report contains all submissions students made in Forums, Tests & Quizzes, and Assignments in the LMS and all LMS Meetings students joined.