Can skipping class affect your school performance?

Everyone has experienced that extremely conflicting moment where you can’t get out of bed, or just don’t want to get out of bed, but you have an important class coming up… so what do you do? While for some of us the answer is simple, to others this decision is so hard to make. I think we all know the answer to this question but I wanted to see just how much of a toll this can take on your grade. My hypothesis is that it’s relative. If you skip class but put in the work outside of class to make up for what you missed, then you should be fine. But, if you skip a class where the material taught you can’t easily teach yourself or find in a textbook, then you’re screwed (a.k.a SC 200). So, can skipping class affect your school performance?


To understand the extent to which missing class can affect your grades, I searched for an experiment that tested this question. That is how I stumbled across an experiment in which three large economic classes were told that attendance was not mandatory until the day of their midterm exam and that after the midterm, the students that scored below the class’ average grade would have to attend class (see x). In addition, many third variables were measured, such as number of tutoring sessions attended, homework grades, gender, grade level, and more. (x)


screen-shot-2016-10-19-at-9-43-25-pmscreen-shot-2016-10-19-at-9-43-04-pmIn this study done on these courses, the average rate of attendance before the midterm exams was 78% (see x). The article claims that the attendance varied according to whether it was recorded before or after midterms (see x). As what can be observed from the graph, before midterms, 12% of students had a rate of attendance that was less than 50% and 35% had a rate of at least 90% (see x). As you can predict, the students that attended class more did better on their exams (see x). The study also concluded that students forced to attend class after taking the midterm significantly improved their grades (as can be seen on the second graph). Hence, this led to the idea that making attendance mandatory in a class can help students ensure that they do better on tests since they are forced to learn the class material. It only makes sense that student’s grades improved after the attendance became mandatory as those that did well before the midterm most likely continued to do well, and those that didn’t had room to do better. (x)

A correlation between attendance and class performance was found as a result of this experiment. There is no actual mechanism to say that causation equals correlation but, since the study was done on such a large group of people, it is safe to say that it is likely this conclusion is true. Furthermore, with a meta-analysis that show the same results as this study, then we would be able to decrease the possibility of chance being the case and the possibility that this might be a false positive.

So, what can you take home from this study? Next time you’re not feeling like getting out of bed for an important class, take a deep breath, think of the things you might miss by not going and the tuition money you’re wasting, and get up. The hardest part is always getting up. Going back to my hypothesis, while I still think this concept is relative, you can’t always guarantee that you will be able to teach yourself the material as well as your professor can, especially after knowing the results of this experiment, it is not worth the risk. Get up and go. You’ll be okay.

4 thoughts on “Can skipping class affect your school performance?

  1. Darcy Pacheco

    I think this blog post was very relatable. There have been many times where I have been very tired in the morning and have contemplated skipping class. Therefore, I think this will relate to everyone. I especially like how you linked the topic back to our class specifically. In your blog post, the results from the experiment said if people attended class they did better on their midterm. Before viewing the results, this is a conclusion that I would assume to be true. However, for those who do choose to skip class there is a price to pay. According to a survey conducted by Class210, the average college student skips 240 classes by the time of graduation.  Students that attend an in-state, public university have a price of $7,200 wasted tuition money over the course of four years. For students that attend a private university, this total adds up to $24,960. This is another contributing factor as to why we should not skip class in my opinion. If you would like to find out more statistics in regards to the cost of skipping class, you can click on the link below.

  2. sjb6039

    Going to class is extremely important. This past weekend I went home and had to skip my economics class. The following class that I attended, I felt so lost as i did not know any of the material that was being talked about. For me going to class is crucial, however for others they can skip class all the time and still get a good grade. So now i wonder if there are any variable that contribute to one’s overall performance in addition to class attendance. Because lets face it, there’s always those people who don’t go to class on any days other than test days but someone still end up getting an A.

  3. Michael David Kresovich

    Great perspective on the blog , I especially enjoyed how you found a way to link it back to class in terms of what we had learned. I found the study very compelling too, mostly because I agree with the results. I often find myself wondering if I should attend a class on a beautiful afternoon, but kind of like you said I think about the tuition and how hard I Have worked to get here. I think skipping class with negatively affect one”s performance in class because 90% of life is just showing up.

    check this out, this is relevant :

  4. Thomas John Krieger

    I thought this was great blog. I really liked how you linked it back to the class, and you did a topic that is very relevant for students. I agree that going to class is very important for students, but I don’t think it is fair for students to lose points off their grade because they miss a class. We are all adults and should be able to decide. If a person can get an A in a class without going to class, then why should they be penalized.

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