Student Attendance Monitoring Student FAQs

Student FAQs

Why is Queen Margaret University recording attendance?

The aim of attendance registration is to facilitate improved attendance, to identify students considered at risk of dropping out of their course and to provide signposting towards academic and pastoral support and guidance.


As is the current practice in a number of Universities across Scotland and the rest of the UK, attendance registration will be carried out in relation to the University’s Student Attendance Policy and has been implemented with the direct support of the Students’ Union. Attending classes timetabled in your Programme of study is a vital part of student engagement – students who attend have consistently been shown to achieve better exit grades than those whose attendance record is below what is expected of QMU students.

If you have any questions regarding attendance registration at QMU, or you are concerned about your own attendance and want to know more about support that is available, please contact us at

The University also has to report details of all student attendance to the Scottish Funding Council, Students Awards Agency for Scotland, Student Loans Company and to advise the UK Visas and Immigration/Home Office when Tier4 sponsored overseas students are not in full attendance. It is therefore very important that we record student attendance across the University, and the electronic registration system based on your Student Smartcard helps us to do this effectively.

What do I need to do?

All new and returning taught students (undergraduate and postgraduate) must use their Student Smartcard to register their attendance with the Smartcard readers each time they enter a timetabled teaching or learning event as per their personalised timetable available in the Student Portal. The Smartcard readers are usually located near the door in each classroom, so on entering each session you must pass your card across the reader.

There are two different types of reader; one which flashes red/green the other simply flashes green. Both register attendance if a card is swiped over them.

There is a 30-minute time window during which you must present your card to the relevant electronic reader; 15 minutes before and up until 15 minutes after the start of class. It is therefore extremely important that you arrive as close to the start time as possible.

Electronic attendance registration will work in conjunction with the personalised timetable system. Your personalised timetable is available in the Student Portal. Every time you swipe, you are providing information to the system about your location at a particular time. This is then matched against the event in your timetable that you are scheduled to attend at that time. It will be extremely important for you to attend the teaching and learning events on your timetable. If you do not attend the class you have been assigned to in your personalised timetable, this will be recorded as unauthorised absence.

Should you have difficulty attending particular events on your personalised timetable please contact for advice.

You will also be responsible for:

  • Notifying the Academic Administration Administrators of any absences you may have (Automated online student absence forms can be found in your Student Portal.)
  • Keeping track of your attendance through the Student Portal.

Responding promptly to any correspondence from the University regarding absence. Notifying the Academic Administration (via Academic Administration) about any classes you are having difficulty attending due to other commitments (such as childcare arrangements, part time work, etc.). While it is not guaranteed that these responsibilities can be accommodated, every effort will be made to move you to a different timeslot where possible.


If classes are back-to-back in the same venue, do I need to present my card to the reader again?

Yes. The attendance registration system needs to record your attendance at every individual teaching event you are scheduled to attend, to ensure that your presence is recorded correctly.

How will I know that my attendance has been registered?

There are two types of panels in the building, and both will provide some kind of feedback to let the user know that their swipe has been registered; the panel will either flash green and red, or flash green and make a beeping sound. If you are unsure that your swipe has been registered, you can wait for a couple of seconds and try again; duplicate swipes will not cause a problem in the system.

What happens if I forget my card?

Students are responsible for ensuring they have their Student Smartcard with them whilst on campus. Students who have forgotten their Student Smartcard will be recorded as having been absent from the event. We are reliant on automated attendance verification and are therefore unable to manually update individual records.

What can I do if I have been told that I did not attend a class, but I did?

It is your responsibility to ensure that your attendance is registered at the teaching event. If you do not swipe into an event, then you will be recorded as absent from this event. If you believe your card has stopped working then you should report this to the Security Team at Main Reception, who will check whether it is registering correctly.

What happens if I am absent because I am ill or have an important appointment?

You can let us know if you have been ill or cannot attend, e.g. because you have a doctor’s appointment, by completing the automated online absence form which can be found in your Student Portal. This must be completed in advance of the period of absence, unless circumstances prevent you from doing so. Please note that for absences due to illness lasting over 6 days a medical certificate must be provided. Notified absences will only be accepted up to 5 working days after the event.

What if I am early or late for a class?

It is vital that you arrive at your classes on time.

The system will mark students as on time if they arrive 15 minutes before and up until 15 minutes after the beginning of class. For the sake of engaging fully with your Programme of study and out of respect for the academic staff teaching the class and other students, you should arrive on or before time. However, it is during this 30-minute window that your attendance will be recorded automatically against your record.

If you swipe too early, or arrive after this period you will be recorded as having been absent from the class.

What about potential for fraud?

Students must not give their Smartcard to others and should only "swipe" themselves into a class. Where a student has been found to have fraudulently swiped in someone else, then our standard student disciplinary procedures may be invoked for both the student who fraudulently used the card of another, and for the student who gave their card to be swiped.

What happens if the system becomes unavailable?

While unlikely, the panels may become unavailable in the event of a network or power failure and in some cases your attendance may not be recorded. In the event of such an outage taking place all student records would be amended so that events during this period are not taken into account for attendance recording purposes.

Panels are checked once a week to ensure they are functioning correctly.

What happens when I am on teaching/learning events away from campus?

The attendance at events taking place off-campus will not be recorded using the electronic attendance registration system. However, there may be a requirement for a particular level of attendance at these events and this will be communicated to you in your Programme handbook.

What steps will the University take if I do not attend?

The University’s attendance registration system relies on you demonstrating evidence of attendance by recording your presence in class with your Student Smartcard and being proactive about advising your Personal Academic Tutor if you have problems. You are responsible for your attendance.

Students should familiarise themselves with the Student Attendance Policy with regards to steps that could be taken by the University with regards to failing to attend classes. Our aim is to identify students who are struggling to attend and provide early support to them so that they do not feel the need to leave their Programme of study.

Do I need to check my QMU email?

Yes, all formal notifications emailed to students will be sent to your QMU email. You should therefore ensure that you check this email account on a regular basis.

Where can I see my attendance records and who else can see them?

Your attendance record can be viewed on the Student Portal.

The Electronic Registration of Attendance (ERA) Administrator and the teaching team will be able to view attendance records through the Staff Portal and your student record.

What can I do if I am told I am being withdrawn from my Programme of study?

If you have been contacted to say that you are being withdrawn from your course, you will have already been contacted on several occasions to raise concerns about your lack of attendance or engagement. If you wish to continue your studies you must contact the University immediately, via, your PAT or Programme Leader. If you wish to withdraw formally you should contact

If you discontinue your studies, we are obliged to inform the Scottish Funding Council, SAAS, SLC and the UK Visas and Immigration/Home Office, as appropriate.

Updated July 2016; July 2017