When it comes to the discussion of the impact of student attendance on academic success, there are varying views. While some believe that compulsory attendance is “unfavorable to the idea of higher education as a voluntary activity undertaken by adults”, others argue that students often make short term decisions on skipping class and are not all productive go-getters who will make the best use of their time. Many students are even surprised by their absenteeism when asked to analyze their attendance records.
If we were to go with research and statistics, several studies show a causal effect of absence on student performance. This means class attendance has been linked to higher performance on exams and final course grades. This is more true for previously underperforming students made to attend class. It's no wonder then that most faculty members are in favor of a mandatory attendance policy.
But what do students think? Surveys show that while most students, especially undergraduates, dislike mandatory attendance, they agree that without it, they would miss class more often. In one such study, 77% of respondents agreed that students who attend class regularly will receive higher grades and that regular class attendance is necessary to be successful in college. Despite that, however, they expressed a dislike of attendance policies.
When asked whether instructors should implement attendance policies, only 20% said they should. However, 71% said they were less likely to miss class in courses for which there is a policy. Similarly, as per Gerald and Brady's experiment in 2019, 85% of their students chose a mandatory policy so they could hold themselves accountable for regular attendance.
So does attendance matter? While we know of positive co-relations between college attendance and grades, classroom attendance serves another purpose that is crucial to a student's campus life. It creates a space where students have access to each other, provides contextual information beyond academic content, and helps build resources and relationships which not only add to the student's knowledge but also create a sense of belonging. We already know that these are factors that affect student achievement, and hence are indispensable in helping students stay on track. So maybe it's worth agreeing that student attendance and educational outcomes are closely linked and that attendance can be a key and controllable precursor to student success.
Involvio’s student attendance tracking software - AttendanceKit - offers a simple way for instructors to track attendance using QR codes outside classrooms and Wi-fi based prompts on students’ smartphones. Features like the analytics dashboard and automatic grade calculation allow teachers to better understand and promote classroom engagement. Check out the infographic below for a quick look at what our attendance app for students can do for your institution.