Attendance Matters: Student Performance and Attitudes
Most academics consider class attendance as key to performance, using various strategies to encourage students to attend classes and engage more fully with the course, often with limited if any success. In Part 1 of this paper, we investigate the relationship between student attendance and performance based on two units. In the first unit, students scanned their student-cards before entering the lecture venue; in the second unit, attendance was based on tutorial attendance records. For each unit, attendance records were merged with performance and demographic data from the university records. The data were analysed using statistical modelling to determine the effect of attendance on performance. In Part 2, we report on surveys of academic staff and students administered across Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, South America, Europe and the US. In particular, we investigate the relationship between attitude towards attendance and importance of attendance to student performance and demography. Similarly, we investigate the relationship between attitudes of staff towards attendance to staff demography. Some qualitative analyses of open-ended comments from both staff and students were also performed. Statistical analysis showed a significant relationship between attendance and performance, with an increase of 0.52% per lecture and 1.7% per tutorial attendance respectively for the two units. Further, students in Mathematics and Statistics, Arts, and Medicine and Dentistry thought lecture attendance was important, while staff overwhelmingly agreed that class attendance was important.