Some thoughts about student attendance monitoring

Monday, 29th February, 2016

Big Brother or caring for student welfare

There has been a long debate over the pros and cons of keeping tabs on student’s whereabouts, particularly around if and when they attended lectures.  It is a difficult question but more and more organisations are specifically writing policy documents to clearly show where they stand on this subject.

Attendance monitoring is no longer about Big Brother and keeping tabs but more about the future security of your organisation as well as the welfare of the student base. Colleges and universities are constantly asking themselves a couple of key questions:

  • What is the secret to students literally ‘staying the course’ and succeeding in higher education?
  • What are the factors that, unless address at an early stage, place students at higher risk of not staying the course? 

These are clearly vitally important questions. Both morally and educationally, institutions have a duty to do everything they can to help students make a success of their higher education. At a time of profound change in the sector, these questions take on an added urgency. Students are investing heavily in their higher education and institutions stand to lose a considerable sum of money for each student that drops out. 

On the near horizon we also have the Teaching Excellence Framework to take account of, and without doubt student completion will be one of the key factors in the TEF: 

“My aims for the TEF are….to recognise those institutions that do the most to welcome students from a range of backgrounds and support their retention and progression to further study or a graduate job.” (Jo Johnson MP and Minister of State for Universities and Science, July 2015)

Monitoring attendance can identify the very early signs of issues with a student’s welfare, course attendance or other personal issues that, if left unmanaged, are very likely to result in students dropping-out of their respective studies. While some institutions have managed their student retention very well the average drop-out rate still stands at around 16% for colleges and 7% for universities so institutions are missing out on millions of pounds of fees.

At AIT we understand the important of this to your business and can help track attendance behaviour to ensure you manage your student welfare. With the simple unification of your current system whether it relates to student records systems, timetabling or facilities allocation, our cloud hosted solution can pull them all into a single dashboard to make management of attendance monitoring a breeze. If retaining both the students and their fees is concerning you then we can help – call one of our specialists on 0113 273 0300 to discuss how. Alternatively, you can learn more here