Monitoring, collating and managing absence is considered the keystone in the journey of the student experience. Our own research has proven that the greatest dynamic risk factor for student failure once they have begun their studies is poor attendance.
Lack of attendance is a problem for students directly resulting in not having notes or the opportunity to consolidate learning in tutorials or laboratories. Absence also contributes to lack of socialisation with other students and a sense of not belonging to the group. Often however, absence is not the real problem but rather it is a symptom of some greater issue such as de motivation, illness or bereavement.
Within the ‘Triple C Model’, absence management means early intervention and a philosophy of assertive outreach. The mechanism for doing this is centralised absence monitoring using a pastel traffic light system of categorising absence; green for excellent attendance, yellow for good attendance and pink for poor attendance. Ideally, every two weeks, students are sent letters or emails with carefully chosen text on the appropriate colour of paper. This Sample Absence Communication provides an idea of how to design appropriate communication for students in the three categories. Pink students are interviewed in order to identify any problems and, where possible, agree a personal recovery strategy.