Course Absence Report (CAR) System

The new Course Absence Report (CAR) system facilitates communication between students and instructors when medical issues, family emergencies, or other extenuating circumstances necessitate student absences from class. Please review the frequently asked questions below to learn more.

What is the purpose of the Course Absence Report system?

The purpose of the Course Absence Report (CAR) system is to facilitate communication between instructors and students when a student misses class. The system allows students to inform instructors about absences and makes it easier for instructors to manage information about absences in a course. Each course should have a clear policy for absences. In addition, the CAR system allows school advising offices to coordinate support for students who miss class.

What is the Course Absence Report system?

Course Absence Reports are tools to be used in the context of a course’s policy and process for managing absences up to five (5) days. For absences longer than five days, students should contact their school’s advising office. The system allows a student to notify instructors of an absence and to keep a record of the number of absences for each course. The CAR system allows a student to send notices through one, easily managed system that includes the reason for the absence.

Why should a student submit a Course Absence Report?

Students sometimes find themselves in circumstances that cause them to miss class meetings. Using the CAR system to notify instructors of any absences can help a student manage her or his performance in that class, and it also enables the student’s school advising office to offer help when it is needed.

Why should an instructor use the Course Absence Report system?

Many Penn students are confused by the transition from high school where their absences were often “excused” due to medical or family reasons. The Course Absence Report system is meant to help foster a culture where students take responsibility for attending class and meeting their academic obligations. When students are unable to do so, they should expect to communicate with their instructors.

Instructors should clearly communicate their expectations regarding class attendance and how or whether students are expected to use the CAR system. The CAR system also facilitates tracking absences for an individual student, tracking absences in a course over a term, and identifying students who may be having difficulty in a course through one, easily managed system that includes both an email record and a record in Courses InTouch

How should instructors handle the documentation of absences?

Each course should have a syllabus with a clearly stated policy on attendance. If a student is absent for longer than five days, the instructor should work with the student’s school advising office to determine what support the student needs and/or what documentation should be provided to the school advising office. Documentation verifying illness or other reasons for missing class is not provided through the Course Absence Report system. Health information is considered private. Instructors should not request documentation verifying illness directly from students.

How do Course Absence Reports work for midterm exams?

Each course should have a clear policy and process when students miss a midterm exam. Some instructors may wish to use Course Absence Reports as a tool for managing missed midterm exams. Students should contact the instructor of a class if the policy and process for missing a midterm exam is unclear or unknown.

How do Course Absence Reports work for final exams?

Course Absence Reports do not work during final exams. Students should contact the instructor immediately if they anticipate missing a final exam.

Who has access to the Course Absence Reports?

The only people who receive information about a Course Absence Report are the student submitting a report, instructors for those courses included in the report, and authorized administrators in the student’s school advising office.