Student grades can’t be altered due to attendance in California community colleges

Example syllabus with attendance section highlighted. Justine Baginski/Lariat

According to the Curriculum Resources for California Community Colleges (CRCCC) whose information is from the California Code of Regulations (CCR), a student’s grades can’t be affected by a lack of attendance. This means that students can’t legally get their grade lowered because of attendance alone.

The grade is based on demonstrated proficiency in subject matter and the ability to demonstrate that proficiency, at least in part, by means of essays, or, in courses where the curriculum committee deems them to be appropriate, by problem solving exercises or skills demonstrations by students,” according to Title 5 section 55002.a.2.A in the CCR. 

Attendance isn’t a part of course subject matter so it can’t be separately assessed as part of the course curriculum.

However, attending class may be considered a participation grade. If a teacher considers attendance to be worth the participation score, grade points can still be docked for it.

The course grants units of credit based upon a relationship specified by the governing board between the number of units assigned to the course and the number of lecture and/or laboratory hours or performance criteria specified in the course outline,” according to the CCR.

College credit units are calculated partly due to the total hours spent in class, so if a student misses too many classes, they cannot be said to have completed the course and could face being dropped.

There are no specified criteria for calculating absences in the CCR and therefore are normally chosen from local policy.

Although students may be intrigued, the lines regarding attendance and participation are still fuzzy. Even with local policy in place, if a teacher at a California community college lowers a student’s grade due to attendance alone, then there are curriculum laws against it.