I have taught an introductory statistics class at a local university for a number of years now, and have a policy of no late work/tests without prior approval. (Of course, emergencies are exempt) I have also told my class that illness is a valid reason for missing a test, and as I understand that not every illness requires a doctor's visit, I don't require a doctor's note - simply send me an email beforehand letting me know.
Now, I'm having problems with this policy. I have had students sleep through exams and be completely honest in why they missed the exam; they simply shut off their alarm. These students do not get to make up their exam.
While on the flip side, if a student simply wants to take an extra day to study, all they have to do is claim to be sick, email me in the morning before the test, and voila! Free day to study. (I have not had any students take advantage of this habitually; i.e. sick every test.)
This feels ridiculous to me; I feel like I'm punishing students for their honesty.
How can I have an attendance policy that holds students accountable for being in class, while allowing for illness that doesn't require a doctor's note?
Edit - additional info:
- I don't have an attendance policy for general lectures - I figure if they want to come to class, they will. If they don't, that's their choice too. It's more that the exam is given and due during the class they are missing. I like having hard deadlines for homework/exams - I feel it's better to teach accountability and bonuses as making my life easier grading/keeping track of assignments.