Class Attendance Verification and Reporting of Abandonment F Grades

Information for Instructors

Beginning Fall 2015, the University must abide by federal guidelines to verify the attendance (or participation for online courses) of students in each class for which they are enrolled. The purposes of this requirement are to ensure eligibility of students for financial aid, to support retention and seat management efforts, and to enable the maintenance of more accurate enrollment data. Note in particular the last paragraph about administrative drops for non-verified students. In addition, the institution is required to report whether assigned F grades in a course are a result of the F grade being earned versus whether an assigned F is due to the student dropping out of the course after initial attendance (F Abandonment). See the last section of this page for information on assigning F grades.

A help document is available here.

How will this work?

Instructors are required to enter attendance verifications for each of their courses by the end of the second week of regular Fall/Spring semester. This can be done either by a) submission of Attendance Reported/Absence Reported for each student in a course via the Attendance Verification Interface (AVI) within myOleMiss>Class Rolls and Grades, or b) activating an attendance scanner for your course. For the first means, you are asked to take roll and submit an attendance report for at least one class meeting during first two weeks. Entry via the AVI may be done using a mobile device, a computer in the classroom, or by printing a roll (via the AVI), circulating it in class, and entering from an office. For evidence of eligibility for financial aid, the key information is whether a student has attended at least one class meeting for each course. It is an instructor's prerogative as to whether to give the students a prior announcement of the day on which this attendance roll is taken. (Students will be told through other channels that attendance verification will be done during these first two weeks.)

What if a student misses class the day I submit an attendance report, but then the student shows at a subsequent class meeting?

Since the purpose is to verify that students attend at least one class, you will have to use the AVI to update an attendance report for such a student. If an attendance scanner is activated for your class, the information from the scanner will automatically update the attendance data for this student.

What if one or more students add my course after I have entered an attendance verification report?

Students who add the course after the first day of class also have to have their attendance verified by you. Unless you have an activated attendance scanner, you will have to use the AVI to enter an attendance report for all late addition students. Note that the open period for students to add a class closes at the end of the first week; for a student to add during the second week, your permission is required.

Does this apply to all courses and course types?

Yes. Attendance verification is required for both undergraduate and graduate/professional courses, including courses such as thesis, dissertation, practicum/internship, seminar, lab, studio, ensemble, special problems, off-campus, and online courses. For online courses, active virtual participation is the substitute for physical presence. Active participation might be evaluated in terms of submission of a graded assignment during the reporting window. (Please know that simply logging in to Blackboard does not count, though – the student must have been engaged in an academically-related activity.)

What if a student presents information indicating that he or she will be absent during the first two weeks of class?

Students who are not able to attend during the first two weeks of a class must contact their instructor to explain their special circumstances. If a student attends at least one time, (even before an extended absence) you are 'good to go' with regard to attendance verification.

The type of reasons for special circumstances includes the following:

Please contact your academic dean for assistance to indicate "special circumstances" for a particular student.

Does this substitute for an instructor's individual course attendance policy?

No. Each instructor may have his/her own attendance policy.

How does this relate to the FABI (Freshman Attendance-Based Initiative) program?

The FABI program will continue to operate as before (see, with instructors being asked to report freshmen having three or more absences via the myOleMiss FABI interface. However, we will be evaluating whether this new AVI attendance verification process and our expanded use of scanners can replace the FABI reporting interface.

What about shorter terms?

Attendance must be verified for shorter terms as well. For each type of shorter term (e.g., intersessions, Full Summer, First Fall, First Spring, First Summer, Second Fall, etc.) the period for instructors to verify attendance will be up to the Last Day to Add a Course for that term. The date for the administrative dropping (see below) of non-verified students will be a few days thereafter, as given in the Academic Calendar.

As a consequence, if an instructor is teaching both a Full Fall course and a First Fall course, he or she will have ten class days to enter attendance verifications for the Full Fall course, but only three course days for the First Fall course. The separate deadlines will be indicated in reminder emails.

What if I forget to enter an Attendance Verification for one or more of my courses?

You will receive an email notification for courses for which you have not yet entered Attendance Verification reports. After week two, these emails will also go to your dean and chair, who will contact you about entering or updating such verifications. We must receive Attendance Verification reports (whether reporting students' attendance or absence) for all student bookings. This is a federal Department of Education requirement. Verification of an Absence for an individual student will trigger the administrative dropping of such student bookings from your course, as explained below.

Is there a consequence of reporting that a student is absent for a class?

Yes. Students whose attendance is not verified after a certain period will be dropped from the class. Verification of attendance will occur during the first two weeks of a regular semester (and see above for shorter terms). During the third week of class, academic administrators will contact the faculty to resolve cases. If a student's attendance has not been verified in a class at the end of the third week, and if the student has not voluntarily dropped, the student you will be administratively dropped from the class. Note that this action may have an impact on the student's financial aid eligibility and full-time status. From the University's perspective, this process avoids over-awarding of financial aid, for which the institution often has incurred Title IV funds pay back expenses, and avoids potential federal penalties.

What additional information is needed if I assign an F to a student?

If you assign an F to a student who attended the class, including the final exam, this is considered an earned F. This will be the default entry on the grade reporting form. But if you assign an F and also determine that the student unofficially dropped out, or abandoned, the course, including not sitting for the final exam, this should be reported as an F Abandonment. The institution must record whether an assigned F is due to Abandonment or being Earned in order to correctly determine the eligibility of a student for current semester and future financial aid.