One Way To Motivate Students to Go to Class

OK—this topic is worth discussion and debate. After reading an article about a new app for parents, teachers, and college students, I felt mixed emotions.

Do you remember your college days? How many classes did you skip? If you’re like most university students, it’s more than you can remember. When I think on my years in college, I recall attending classes most of the time. I went enough to make sure I understood the subject and was ready for the exam. But I definitely wasn’t perfect, and neither were my peers — many of them failed to attend class more often than not.

This trend may change, however, thanks to a new app called “Class 120”. Designed by startup company Core Principle, Class 120 gives parents, athletic departments, and college administrators the ability to track their students’ class attendance. It’s like insurance for the parent who’s spent tens of thousands of dollars each semester to pay for their kid’s tuition. They can now make sure they actually get their money’s worth.


photo credit: Razordab13 via photopin cc

Wow. It’s a new day.

According to a summary report from USA Today, Jeff Whorley, Core Principle’s founder and chief executive officer, said, “college students spend more than $31 billion a year in classes they don’t attend. On average, students report that they don’t attend about 20% of classes throughout their collegiate career.”

“‘We know 40 to 45% of students that start at four-year colleges don’t graduate in six years,’ [Jeff] said, adding that students who regularly attend class receive better grades.”

The article goes on to explain that the app doesn’t communicate where a student is at all times — it simply lets the respective adult know (in real time) if a student has failed to check in to his or her class.

My Mixed Emotions

I am both an educator and a parent. My two kids have attended college, so I can see the merit in this new app. It likely leads to a better ROI when it comes to our children’s education. At the same time, I believe that by the time my kids reached college age, they should be able to self-regulate and manage themselves. Part of healthy, emotional intelligence is self-awareness and self-management. You must figure out what you need to do — even when you don’t feel like it — in order to succeed.

I don’t want to be a “helicopter parent” with kids who need me to monitor them, remind them of every little task on their to-do list, and watch out for them as if they’re still in elementary school. My main concerns about this app are these: does it merely enable helicopter parents to hover over their kids, instead of learning to discuss with them how to handle class time? Does it communicate a lack of trust? Does it further delay kids’ abilities to self-regulate, and will they need an app when they start their careers? Or—does it really offer a service they need today: a little accountability to do what they agreed to do, even when the weekend party went late and they’re tired on Monday morning?

Two Realities I know for Sure

  • Millions of parents need to hover less and train more.
  • Millions of students need to learn to self-regulate.

One caveat. Although the app provides an incentive to get students to class, it still requires their consent. So I am wondering—if a parent consents to pay tuition, shouldn’t a student consent to use the app? Or, does this just mask the real problem: hovering parents and underdeveloped college students?

I want to hear from you. What do you think about the pros and cons of such an app? You can comment below.


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One Way To Motivate Students to Go to Class