Student Resources

6-Year Graduation Rates

Noteworthy Findings

Project Description

Reporting Absences

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Project Director: David McMillen

On-Campus Coordinator: Ty Abernathy

Technical: Nell Valentine


Reporting Absences

The goal of Pathfinders is to increase academic performance, retention and graduation by emphasizing the importance of regular class attendance. Pathfinders has been remarkably effective in reaching these goals. Prior to Pathfinders and the University’s commitment to increasing regular class attendance, the six-year graduation rate at MSU was 50%. Since the Pathfinders Program has been in place, the average six-year graduation rate has been 60%. This change occurred despite the freshman ACT average remaining between 23.1 and 23.9 from 1996 until 2014.

Pathfinders aim IS NOT to catch students missing classes; however, the best early indicator of freshmen with academic problems is missed classes. We use this indicator to help students. If we can intervene early in the semester with freshmen having difficulties, we can help many of them get on track. Our contact with students is intended as a "wake-up call". The contact is “face-to-face” in their residence hall room by Residence Hall Assistants. We emphasize the need for self-motivation and personal responsibility in a college environment that is vastly different from high school. We do not function as "attendance police". With the help of Residence Hall Academic Assistants, we will make personal contact with the students you report. In a positive manner we will make three points to students:

• Attending class regularly is virtually essential for freshmen academic success.
• A freshman missing classes is often an indicator of academic difficulties or other problems.
• Please talk to your instructor if you are having any academic problems.

Although there are a variety of other programs to assist freshmen, Pathfinders is the only program that relies on “face-to-face” contact with students. We believe that this personal contact is a major reason the program has been successful.

Our goal in Pathfinders is early identification of freshmen accumulating absences. To best help these students, they must be contacted as soon as possible after an absence problem is identified. In order to facilitate this, we ask that you update your absences in Banner by the following dates: August 31st, September 10th, and September 17th. After September 17th, please continue to update absences in Banner at least once every three weeks until November 1st.

Procedure for Recording Absences in Banner:

1. Log on to Banner with NetID and Net Password.
2. Click on “Banner” from the alternatives of Main, Campus, Classroom, Office, and Banner.
3. Under Grades and Absences, click on Absence Reporting.
4. Enter subject, course number, and section number.
5. Update absences on your class roster (boxes should display cumulative absences).

With the absence reporting link in Banner you can either manually input absences or copy and paste absences from a delimited file. If you have made a mistake you can copy and paste the information again or manually make changes to the number of absences.

If you are teaching in a classroom with scanners, daily reporting to Banner is automatic once the scanner is activated at the beginning of the semester. It is essential you and your students understand that once scanners, once activated, will scan each meeting for the entire semester. You must tell students to make certain that they scan their ID at each meeting or they will be counted absent. A green light always indicates a successful scan. When students or instructors do not understand how the scanners operate, excessive false absence reporting will occur and freshmen will be contacted about classes they have not missed.

If you need information about the use of scanners please contact Dr. Rodney Pearson at the Center for Student Success.
Phone: 662-325-7282