Do You Know Where Your Students Are?

Do You Know Where Your Students Are?

Do You Know Where Your Students Are?

By leveraging real-time attendance software, vocational schools can take a proactive approach to retention while ensuring students remain safe in an emergency.

Do you know where your students are? No, really—are you 100% sure? 

Yes, they’re supposed to be in class. But, let’s be honest, that’s not always the case. Throw in externship attendance, where students will frequently establish their schedules, and taking attendance can feel like a giant game of hide and seek. 

The reality of manual attendance processes is that there is no way to be certain of where your students are during class or externships. While this lack of visibility applies to every student, it is particularly critical for at-risk students. If your staff is worried about an at-risk student, they have two options: 

  1. Wait to receive an attendance sheet from a professor hours or even days after class. At this point, it’s already too late—an at-risk student missed a full day of class and is now at even greater risk. 
  2. Walk down to the classroom and check to see if a student is in class. While this type of verification is great for getting steps in, it isn’t great for retention. Walking from room to room can get time-consuming quickly. In blended or online learning, this isn’t even an option. Instead, you’re left waiting on daily attendance sheets. 

Real-time attendance software gives you the power to see which students are absent with the click of a button, allowing you to take a proactive approach to retention and improve student safety in case of an emergency.

Attendance Software for Vocational Schools and its Impact on Student Safety

Unfortunately, our world isn’t always puppies and rainbows. Sometimes emergencies happen, and administrators must know where students are. 


Suppose a disaster like a hurricane, flood, or earthquake hits school grounds and paper-based attendance sheets are not accessible. In that case, administrators have no way of knowing if every student who was supposed to be in class was actually in class. With a cloud-based, real-time attendance software, administrators can access a full list of present students from any device with internet access and know exactly where they are on campus. 


Because students manage their externship hours, administrators don’t always know when a student plans to visit a site. If schools use paper-based attendance during an emergency, administrators have no visibility into whether a student is in the danger zone or home safe. Real-time attendance data allows administrators to determine which students are on-site and alert the proper authorities and family members. 

Attendance Software for Vocational Schools and its Impact on Retention

Unfortunately for administrators, more students may be at risk of dropping out than ever before. A recent National Student Clearinghouse Research Center (NSCRC) report found that persistence and retention rates dropped across school sectors from 2020-2021, with community colleges experiencing the most significant drop. The average retention rate across sectors dropped .7 points to 66.2%, the most significant single-year decline since NSCRC started measuring this metric in 2009. 

The most common reason students drop out of vocational schools is because they have missed too many classes to remain in the program. Unfortunately, manual attendance systems simply don’t give you as many opportunities to connect with these students before it’s too late.  

With real-time attendance software, you can see who is in class without setting foot outside their office. Your staff no longer has to traipse around campus to find at-risk students or spend hours on manual attendance data entry to determine whether an at-risk student attended class. Instead, you can use instant information to take a proactive approach to retention. You can see who is absent within the first five minutes of class and call absent students immediately. Your staff can remind (or sometimes persuade) students to log on to an online class and earn some time for the day in blended or hybrid environments. 

When using paper-based attendance for externships, your staff doesn’t always know when a student has fallen behind, which could result in an immediate drop from the program. Real-time attendance software allows administrators to see who is on-site at externships and who has been absent so they can intervene early.  

Software That Keeps Your Vocational School Informed About Student Status

Having real-time attendance data is just the first step. Knowing where your students are physically is important, but knowing where they are in their program progress is also a critical measure of success. Attendance is a great success metric to start with, but it doesn’t tell the full story of student pace and progress. A student who is showing up to class every day but not completing assignments or passing exams is still an at-risk student. When searching for an attendance solution, look for one that pulls the components of satisfactory academic progress into one place, allowing your administrators to determine where students are in their program. 

If you’d like to learn more about how CourseKey can help you end the game of hide and go seek, request a demo today.

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