Students must take control of own education


Christina Coleburn, Senior Editor

An Indianapolis startup known as Core Principle Inc. has generated buzz with the launch of Class120, a new app with which administrators, parents and professors can track students’ class attendance. The app was created to curb absences, as many college students miss lectures and use class time for other activities. Students must first give their consent to be monitored, and more than 2,000 people are already using the service. Jeff Whorley, the founder and CEO of Core Principle Inc., said college students report being absent for about 20 percent of classes on average, wasting more than $31 billion on unattended lectures. While Class120 could prove useful for those who have had difficulty transitioning into college, monitoring attendance should be seen as a temporary crutch, not a comprehensive solution.

Motivation for long-term collegiate success ultimately must come from students, who need an incentive to thrive regardless of whether they are being monitored. Indeed, many students encounter circumstances that interrupt their educational progress. According to a report from Complete College America, a nonprofit based in Indianapolis, only 19 percent of full-time students at U.S. public colleges earn a bachelor’s degree on time. Furthermore, only 50 of over 580 public four-year institutions across the nation graduate a majority of full-time students within the standard time frame. The report cited the inability to register for course requirements, taking too few credits per semester and failed remediation sequences as causes.

Any of these circumstances could be exacerbated if a student is regularly absent from class, but if poor attendance is the root cause of graduating late, the issue is deeper than simply having insufficient credits. There is a difference between graduating behind schedule due to credits lost in transfer and graduating late when deficient attendance interferes with the ability to pass classes. Class120 could be helpful for students whose grades only slightly drop when personal or extracurricular conflicts compel them to skip class, as long as these students maintain an individual commitment to their education. For students who constantly need parental or administrative assistance, Class120 is unlikely to deliver a sustainable solution.

It is undoubtedly wise for students to seek help if they have academic issues, especially if those problems include showing up to class. For a student in crisis, asking for assistance is not only beneficial — in some cases, it can save a collegiate career. However, attendance monitoring cannot replace individual motivation and maturity. Class120 may be effective for an otherwise functional student, but if poor attendance is part of a broader issue of lacking commitment to one’s education, the app will not provide enough incentive to attend class.


A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Feb. 4 print edition. Email Christina Coleburn at