Attandance Sheet Assignment

(UPDATED: These steps have been simplified!)

The most popular post on my site is about how to use Google Sheets as a gradebook for students, including allowing them to access their individual grades via a web-app embedded in this gradebook. I don’t use the web-app much anymore, but I still use the gradebook for keeping track of assignments, attendance, homework, quizzes, and, of course, grades.

For things like attendance and homework, I used to open up the spreadsheet and manually input them. However, now, I simply use my smartphone to do it. I open up my “class” folder on my phone, click attendance, and then fill out a Google Form. It saves a lot of time and is quite convenient. The biggest benefit, however, is that the data feeds directly into my main gradebook! This post will explain how to use Google Forms on your phone to feed into your Google gradebook. It takes a little time to set-up for the first time, but once you know how to do it, it’s a breeze.

Step 1: The Form

The form can be customized to meet whatever class needs you have. You can keep attendance, input homework, and even input participation and quiz grades. You will have to set up one form for each class. You should also be sure you have your full roster and will not be making any changes to it because, once set up, you shouldn’t change your Google Form. It’s also important to make sure the order of names in your roster is the same on your gradebook and form. Here’s what you should do. I’ll use attendance as an example:

  1. Open up Google Forms.
  2. Name the document something unique, usually with the class and section name first (e.g. L 104 for my Listening 104 class).
  3. Your first question should be a grid option.
  4. To input your roster you can:
    1. type it in, one student per line
    2. paste it in by copying your roster from a spreadsheet and pasting it into the first box – the additional boxes should population.
  5. Add your column labels. My example contains Present, Absent, and Late.
  6. View your form and submit some test responses. This will be important for the next step.
    1. You can access the live form by click on the “eye” icon in the right-hand corner of the screen.

 

Basic attendance form – editing view

Basic attendance form – student view

Step 2: Form Data

After making your form, you need to work with the data to make it so that it is in the right format to feed into your spreadsheet. This is actually quite simple.

  1. Click on “Responses” and click on the green spreadsheet icon.
  2. You can create a new spreadsheet and build your gradebook in there. Or, you can link the form to your already existing gradebook.

    To access the response spreadhseet

    Choose where the form data goes

    Form responses – note, data populates vertically. Transposing the data in another sheet will make it populate horizontally

  3. Make a new sheet.

    Make a new sheet

  4. In cell A1, input this formula
    1. =TRANSPOSE(‘Form Responses 1’!A1:n)
    2. n represents the column letter of the student at the bottom of your roster. In other words, look at the “Form Responses 1” sheet and look at the last column populated by a name. That column number will be n. In my example, that column is D.

      Formula for transposing data

  5. Your data should now be arranged so that student names are on the left column, dates are running across the top row, and responses are in the body.
  6. This will automatically update as responses are added (i.e. as you use the form).

    Transposed data

Step 3: Calculating Data

Now that you have the data in your gradebook, you are almost finished. However, we probably want to calculate this data. There are many ways to do so. Because my data is text, I will want to calculate how many “Present”, “Absence”, and “Late” values I have. This can be done with the COUNTIF() function.

  1. Working in your gradebook, click on your first column of data (Column B) and insert as many columns as you need to the left. I have inserted four, Present, Absences, Lates and Total (for an average score).

    Example columns to the left of the data

  2. In the first column (Column B, “Presents”), in cell B2, use the COUNTIF() forumula: =COUNTIF(first_column:last_column, “criteria”)
    1. last_column:first_column are the same as above
    2. criteria is the value you want to count, for example “Present” or “Absent” or “Late”
    3. My example

      Formula for counting all “Present” responses

    4. This will count how many times “Present” appears.
  3. Repeat this for the other columns you have created.
  4. In the totals column, you will have to decide how you want to calculate attendance. I will explain two methods.
    1. The first method is to calculate the average, which is the number of times present (inlcuding lates) divided by the number of classes. The formula is simple. Add the lates + the presents (it’s better to start right to left for some reason) and divide by the number of classes. Here’s the formula, based on the columns in the picture above: =C2+B2/COUNTA(first_column:last_column)*100

      Calculating an average

    2. The second method assigns points to each value. Presents are worth 1 point, lates are 0.50 points and absences are 0 points. A class of 10 days with 6 presents (6 points), 2 lates (1pt), and 2 absences (0 points) equals 7 points out of 10 days, which equals 70%. Here’s the formula:
      =((B4*1)+(D4*0.5))/COUNTA(first_column:last_column)*100
      1. B4 equals my count of presents times the point value I wish to assign
      2. D4 equals my count of lates times the point value I wish to assign
      3. first_column:last_column is the same as above

        Calculating attendance based on different values

  5. However you want to calculate the value of attendance, all the data is there for you to manipulate.

This pretty much finishes attendance. However, you need to make a convenient way to access the form quickly. Hence, the next section.

Step 4: Smartphone Shortcuts

The best way to access your attendance or other forms is to have a shortcut on your phone. I recommend emailing yourself links to the live forms and then following one of the guide below.

I set all my shortcuts in their own folder for ease of access.

Modifying Forms for Other Types of Input

Google Forms is useful for more than attendance. I use them for homework and have used them for quizzes too.

For homework, you would follow the directions above. However, you would add a short answer question where you could input the homework name.

Example homework form – editing view

Your form responses will look a little different.

Example responses for homework. Note column B contains the homework names.

The only difference between the Attendance and Homework forms would be in transposing. Before, when we transposed the attendance, we chose to begin with column A (the date). For homework, we simply need to begin with column B, the homework name.

Transposed homework responses. Note the formula range starts at “B” not “A”

The rest of the directions above would be the same.

For quizzes, the form itself takes a bit more to create, as you have to make a short answer question for each student, but the same directions for homework (the transposing) remains.


Quiz form – editing view

Quiz form – student view

Quiz form – responses

Quiz form – transposed

Notes

The only note that I can think of is that if you need to change a value, grade, response, etc, you must do it in the Form Response sheet, not the sheet with transposed values, nor the gradebook. This is why you should include a URL to your form response sheet in your gradebook.

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Whether you’re teaching a workshop for adults or teaching school-aged children, an attendance sheet template is a tool you’ll need to keep track of your students and understand their attendance habits. As a teacher, it’s important to pay special attention to student attendance patterns and communicate openly with your students or their parents about habits that affect the quality of their learning.

Many schools also require teachers to use an attendance sheet to penalize students who are truant or have excessive unexcused absences. Attendance records are often a required part of assessing the value of a class, and finding out problems students may have with the curriculum or even the time and day of the class.

Contents

If you plan on teaching a class or workshop, you’ll want to always have an easy to modify, printable attendance sheet on hand to help you keep accurate records. We’ve included a free template on this page for your use.

Attendance Sheet Templates

Improving Attendance in School-Age Children

Attendance sheets give teachers a quick snapshot on how many days their learners are away from school. Many schools even penalize children, grade-wise, for unexcused absences. This is why it’s so important to have a printable attendance sheet on hand and keep accurate records. The good news is that the majority of absences for middle school and elementary school children will be considered “excused absences”. Very few young children are purposefully truant; however, a problem at home could be.

Most absences are considered “excused absences” are when the parent calls in with a reason that a child must stay home – usually due to the child’s illness, or sometimes even tragic circumstances within the family such as an illness or accident.

Class attendance for school-aged children is often viewed as a parental responsibility. Some students will have trouble meeting classes because they have trouble at home. Trouble at home doesn’t always, however, mean that the child comes from a “problem home”. Sometimes students have a family member with an illness or special needs. Sometimes the child themselves is prone to illness or has a chronic condition that keeps them home from school.  It’s a standard expectation that students are expected to attend class and to complete all assignments. You may find, however, that chronically absent students may still be able to learn through homework assignments, with proper instruction and the assistance of their parents.

Your attendance sheets will help you identify patterns of absences for your students. If you have a student who is chronically absent, it’s time to speak with the parents to discover what it is that is keeping children away from school. If an absence is unavoidable, you can at least speak with the parents and let them know what days the student should expect to take tests or assessments. Many children who are sick still want to participate in schoolwork, and will happily complete their homework (and day work) assignments under their parents’ guidance.

When Your Attendance Sheet Shows Chronically Tardy School-Age Students

Your attendance sheets will help you identify students that, for one reason or another, have a problem with punctuality. For chronically late students, it is important to get to the root of the problem. If the student, is, for example, dragging their feet and taking their time to get to school every morning, it’s important to mete out an appropriate punishment. Having children stay after school to “make up” the time is an appropriate solution, but you’ll need to speak with the parents so they know their child will be late home from school.

Make sure you always have a copy of the printable attendance sheet in hand when you are preparing to meet with parents.

Attendance Sheet Examples

Use Your Attendance Sheet To Reward School Age Students

Many students respond to rewards for attending class on time. Students who make a special effort to be at school every day deserve some extra attention. Here are some ideas for rewarding students for attending class on time:

  • Give away weekly or monthly “Perfect Attendance” certificates to the students who aren’t late or who don’t miss any days.
  • For students who have been chronically tardy, or who miss school often, give them a different type of award to aim for. If your students can’t make it to school every day, you can at least reward them if your attendance sheet shows improvement.
  • Offer a “Most Improved” prize for attendance on a monthly basis.
  • At the end of the year, offer a prize and certificate for the student who never misses a day, but also make sure you offer an award for “Most Improved.”

By rewarding students for attending class regularly, you’re instilling a work ethic, and even the students who are forced to miss class have something to aim for when you offer a reward for “Most Improved”

A Word About Attendance Sheet Templates For Homeschooled Students

Parents that homeschool their children in groups need to keep accurate records for the government and have them available upon request. Recordkeeping is one of the most important aspects of homeschooling. Be sure to find out the specifics from your local school board. Different states and cities may have different regulations. You will need to make sure that the attendance sheet is accurate and that you always keep copies of your students’ attendance records.

You can download a printable attendance sheet template on this page.

Attendance Sheet Samples

In College, Your Attendance Sheet Tells a Story

Excessive absences and tardiness from college students are often a red flag. Many students struggle to attend classes when they’re having problems adjusting to college life.

In college, students are generally responsible for their class attendance, but when the attendance sheet templates show that a student is missing class or showing up late regularly, this signals a problem. Many college students come from small towns or close-knit families and may have trouble adjusting to college life. For many college-age students, this is the first time the student has been “out in the world” on their own. Which means that when they experience trouble, they may not be sure who to turn to, or even what kind of help they need.

Unfortunately, students who rarely show up to class to sign the attendance sheet are often in more than academic trouble. Sometimes chronic absences are a signal of a serious problem, such as depression or a substance abuse disorder.  If you’ve noticed a student has been missing class regularly, or rarely signs the attendance sheet, you may want to speak to the student in person before you penalize them. Many college students struggle with mental health disorders and many of them feel too ashamed to tell their teachers if they are struggling.

Make sure that your attendance sheet template is put to good use. Although college students may seem “grown,” when it comes to problems with attendance and tardiness, they often still need a push in the right direction to get help when they are struggling. The struggle of adjusting to college is real, and the attendance sheet can help you identify your student’s struggles.

Make sure you download an attendance sheet template to use in your classes. We’ve got one available to you for free on this page.

When Teaching Adults, Attendance Patterns Can Help You Improve Your Class

Adult learners are usually voluntary learners, meaning they choose to enroll in a class or workshop so they can learn something new. Adults tend to take classes that benefit them professionally or personally, and when they’re disappointed, they may stop attending a class altogether. If the class you’re teaching, whether it’s yoga or Chinese history, suddenly has an increase in absences, it may be time to assess the class.

Questions for teachers to ask themselves when attendance sheets show a pattern of multiple people regularly absent or tardy in class:

  • Is the class time inconvenient? Does it pose scheduling conflicts, such as having a start time during rush hour or an early start time that causes students to lose sleep?
  • Is the course content boring? If you see an increase in absences as well as bored, glassy-looking faces peering back, or even students falling asleep, you may need to brush up on your presentation skills.
  • Is the course content too difficult? Sure, it’s important to be challenged, but sometimes a class may be so technical or difficult that students may end up feeling “lost” and missing classes.

If you’re not sure what problems are causing absences and tardiness in adult learners, you may not be sure what to do. In this case, you may want to pass out an anonymous survey to your class and ask people about the class, its positives and negatives. You can even include questions about the time and day the class is scheduled, and ask your students for more information on what dates work best for you. While you may not be able to improve course attendance for the current class, you’ll glean some valuable information on what you can do in the future to make class attendance a success for everyone.

Bonus Attendance Sheets Templates

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