Hmm, I don't quite understand: if they don't skip class, and get reasonable scores, then how would they get expelled then? Or maybe I have it backwards - is it that this "perfect attendance" now is artificially forced to cure that unwanted expulsion problem?
Also, isn't it normal for part of a class to drop out, just like in real life? Although I have to admit this particular case got me confused - Academagia (the academy, not the game) clearly functions like a college, but it seems that it's meant for beginners to magic, so it doesn't quite fit my perception of reality.
If it's technically a college-level institution, then yes, a ~10% dropout rate would be perfectly normal (* see exceptions below though).
EDIT: Also, in real life, the dropout rate is usually highest in the first year anyway; after that people tend to appreciate that they made it through and do their best not to flunk out on the subsequent years, driving the dropout rate down quite a bit.
On the other hand, where I live, education is compulsory up to and including high school, and expulsions are incredibly rare in those cases, maybe 1 in a 1000 students or less - the result is that the offender simply gets relocated to a different school, with a heap of demerits (and usually having to repeat the whole year) for a good start. Suspensions are "more common", but still very rare.
Perversely, the reason for this is bureaucracy: a school gets heavily penalized for expelling/suspending students (and even for forcing them to repeat a year!) - and their statistics suffer (and they receive operational funds from the government based on these statistics), so they do what they can to "push the scum through" to the next year, even if it means barely a passing grade. In fact, even if a student is far below a passing grade, they still receive a passing grade in the end anyway. I've seen that happen many times, first hand, what with all the scum in my classes. It benefits the school to do that; so who cares about the students, anyway?
I also just realized something else, completely unrelated: the particular forbidden art mentioned in my first post, it sucks so bad - I know that the relevant Lore doesn't favor this subject, but why can't it be used to affect not only actions but thought? Like convincing your archnemesis that he/she is in fact your best friend, or something to that effect? Currently there just doesn't seem to be a worthwile way to really punish an enemy this way. Clearly the true victory lies in crushing the opposition not only physically (or not at all), but also mentally/psychologically as well (compare with, say, the Dark Lords of the Sith, whose very presence was oftentimes enough to bend others to their will, by sheer fear if not anything else; ie. the mere presence of Darth Nihilus could turn Force-insensitive people to the dark side, something normally considered impossible (!)).
In fact, a fragmentary glimpse at the relevant Lore seems to indicate that the victim is aware of being affected by that forbidden art, while being powerless to do anything on their own; surely being subjected to that state for weeks/months on end would break even the strongest minds?
On an overall note, Academagia is a wonderful game (what with the replay value and all!), but there is one thing, apparently quite common to the genre, which I miss in it: a forbidden technique with terrifying offensive capability, which gives the user immense power at the cost of corrupting them mentally and/or physically.
I'm talking about a level of power which, when truly and fully mastered, would allow the user to annihilate practically any foe, be it man or beast, at appropriately great cost (like being damaged to -10 Vitality, or somesuch). Lore so dreadful and forbidden that the currently so-called "forbidden lore" pales in comparison, and which would be either so thouroughly banned that no one would even know it exists, or not exist in the first place and requiring development from ground up (basically forcing the player to invent and reinvent it from scratch in either case; not something you can do in a week, or even a month - and definitely not in year 1!).
Actually not an attack/offensive spell in itself, rather a technique which greatly multiplies the wielder's power, also leading to new techniques by combining it with other (legal or illegal) offensive abilities.
Of course there would be a different drawback as well - a huge chance of detection, since such a powerful and strange (that is, unknown) technique would pretty much draw the attention of everyone in range; even if there would be no direct witnesses, phenomena that powerful rarely go undetected (what with the earthquakes, huge craters and all?). And being detected would get you so screwed. Unless you could crush the opposition as well, that is.
Obviously this just screams "Evil Overlord" all over, but wouldn't neccesarily have to be used for evil purposes (Random events - payback time, anyone? For failing so much. Take THAT and die, you overgrown spider! Or thief. Or whatever.).
I have a particular story in mind regarding this, so if anyone is interested I'll post it here, rephrased as not to spoil the magnificent work of art behind it to anyone who hasn't encountered it yet.
For now I'll just say that it involves a 9-year old boy, already a mage with great aspirations (clearly a good guy though) who gets accidentally caught up in the machinations of an evil sect bent on world destruction. Obviously he's vastly outnumbered and "outspelled", so he literally puts his life on the line as he trains in the ways of a dreaded, forbidden art (who very few know even by name) to become ridiculously strong in a matter of months. In fact being so strong, that when he enters a competition against a hero who has saved the world 10 years earlier, he fights the hero to a draw (!). In what isn't exactly a fair fight, but what do you expect of forbidden dark arts? NB: in that world, there are only 2 people who have mastered that art, and he is the arguably the strongest one of the two. And without these dark arts, he wouldn't have lasted even 5 seconds in that competition.
There is much more to that story, this is very abbreviated, but that's the general idea.
(*) This is what happens when a particular course is very popular, that is, there are many more applicants than what can be accomodated. In those cases, fierce competition occurs and turnover is very high. Expel one student and forty more will come wanting to take his place.
Conversely, with most of the very unpopular courses (my own case: occupancy of less than 1/4 of what was permitted, due to lack of interest in, and difficulty of, the subject), the reverse occurs: since there are too few students to begin with, expelling more than one (or so) per year is unacceptable, soon the class would be empty.
For that matter, my class has about 30 students, and the dean is under direct orders from the rector to pressure the professors into lowering the grading thresholds as appropriate to make everyone pass.
Yes, it's the anathema of any educational system, but again the reason is money, so go figure.
Now you can see why the diplomas are worth little more than the paper they are written on: since it's commonplace for universities/colleges to graduate students with no knowledge of the subject whatsoever, the diploma does nothing to tell the employer the real skill level of its holder.
To cite an example: I, who have mastered multiple fields and disciplines (in a practical sense, no less - it's not just theory!) will graduate with little better than a passing grade. My friends, who can't even grasp the theory involved (much less putting it to practice!) will also graduate with similar grades, just above passing.
Which leads to a sad truth: yes, the diploma is as worthless as it sounds. You must have it to get any reasonable job, but just the diploma doesn't guarantee getting a good job. For that you need connections, because as I can tell from experience, of regular people, only those who have attained true mastery of the subject(s) have any hope of obtaining the required connections.
Around here it's strictly illegal for employers to hire people based on connections (whilst turning down other valid applicants), but paradoxically there exist legal instruments to allow doing exactly that (!!!), since if it were truly and strictly forbidden, then we as the society would be, well, truly and strictly screwed.
All of which leads to sometimes hilarious results: during my stint as a machinist (it was good while it lasted - it's a pity I can't go back to it; having access to the machining facilities was immensely useful) it was a common sight to see people with a Master's Degree (which is what you get for "just finishing" college, at least around here) who were using calipers - that is: delicate, precision measuring instruments - instead of a monkey wrench, since in a machining center the calipers are so commonplace you can't even walk ten feet without bumping into a set, and those people, having no idea about the purpose of the "commonplace strange implement which looks a bit like a monkey wrench" used it as they saw fit. Which of course caused every machinist within range to become red with fury due to "some moron" wrecking a good set of calipers (in a machining center, as a general rule, everything you can see is expensive beyond imagination). Some time later the whole thing would repeat in a slightly different setting. Over and over again. Go figure.