Psychology Department Class Attendance Policy*

For all Psychology courses, regular class attendance is an essential element. In addition to disseminating information, classes routinely involve discussion in large and small groups, demonstrations, clarifications, and group work that cannot be obtained to the same degree or the same quality via other formats (e.g., copying another student’s notes, downloading posted Canvas lectures). Each class also develops a type of learning community that is disrupted whenever a student’s attendance is subpar; in turn, this affects the learning of other students. Experience also repeatedly demonstrated that students who miss class perform more poorly, retain less information, are less engaged, and earn lower grades. Although there will be legitimate reasons for missing class on limited occasions (e.g., illness, bereavement leave), the high priority the Department places on attendance translates into the expectation that students will, at the most, miss no more than 10% of regularly scheduled class sessions in a given semester.

The Puget Sound Attendance Policy likewise recognizes the importance of being physically present in class when it states that “regular class attendance is expected of all students.” Further, the policy notes that “when non-attendance is in the instructor’s judgment excessive, the instructor may levy a grade penalty or may direct the registrar to drop the student from the course.”

To provide clarity and uniformity about this statement, the Psychology Department faculty have agreed that missing more than 20% of all university-scheduled, regular class meetings, regardless of the reason, constitutes “excessive” nonattendance. Any student missing this amount of class will automatically either be dropped from the course or earn an F, depending upon the timing of the attendance policy violation. Across a 15-week semester, this 20% amounts to approximately 3 weeks of class; the exact number of class sessions is provided by faculty for a given course. Attendance in lab and lecture classes is counted separately; students who miss more than 20% of labs or 20% of lectures will be considered to have violated the policy. Although individual faculty may employ more rigorous standards for attendance as fitting to the specific features of their courses, this 20% standard constitutes the “lowest bar" to still have the opportunity to achieve the minimum learning goals for a particular course. As such, this 20% standard also applies to students who receive "flexible attendance" accommodations. Although faculty will keep attendance, the department strongly recommends that students likewise monitor their own class attendance.

If a student is notified by their professor that they have violated the department’s attendance policy and they choose to petition the department’s implementation of this attendance policy, the student must alert the chair that they plan to petition within three business days of the notification by the professor of the violation. The chair will then work with the student, faculty member, and registrar staff to determine a timeline for the petitioning process and a plan for the student’s attendance during the process.

* For Fall semester 2023, this policy assumes that COVID-19 will not disrupt students’ ability to attend class regularly. If, however, instructional practices are impacted or the campus experiences widespread illness, the department may rescind this policy for the semester.