The correlation between class attendance and academic performances

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  Time really flies and now we are already half way through the semester. As I walked through my lecture classes, I found out that the amount of empty seats increased throughout the semester. There are even more than one-third of empty seats in my 8 am lecture. I know it is a common tendency, since most of the lecture classes are over 300 people and doesn’t take attendance that often. Also, the professor would post the slides on Canvas or Angle after class, so it would be much convenient for people who skipped classes to learn the content. However, personally I would never skip a class without any emergency or sever illness. I believe that attending to all classes would help me improve my academic performances, but sometimes I would still wonder if I might be wrong when I saw all those empty seats in class. Maybe the correlation between classes attendance and academic performance isn’t as strong as I suppose it would be? To answer my question, I decide to look into the topic.


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  A study called “The relationship between lecture attendance and academic performance in an undergraduate psychology class” came up with the conclusion that students who attend their classes frequently are better in their academic performance than students who attend their classes with a limit number of times or never attend their classes at all. As it was mentioned in the title of the study, the study was based on the performances of students in a second-year cognitive psychology class. Registers were distributed randomly throughout the weeks, and nine registers were taken at the end of the semester over all 21 lecture slots. The data were categorised as four attendance group to simplify the calculation: never, seldom, frequently, always. Three academic assessments scores were compared between those four attendance groups. The finding showed that almost half of the students attended less than half the lecture. The “frequently” attended group had a higher score in general than the other groups. I read through the datas, and found out the p value was calculated in the study, shown a value less than 0.01. We talked about it in class that if the p value is less than 0.05, than the null hypothesis is rejected. So the datas in this study are significant enough to reject the null hypothesis, and also the result of this study is less likely to be caused by chance.

  The last study clearly stated that there is a strong correlation between the class attendance and the academic performances. However, new questions come into my mind. I wonder if there are any common reasons that influence the course attendance decision. To further investigate on the topic, I found out  another study called, “Factors Influencing Pharmacy Students’ Attendance Decisions in Large Lectures”. A survey was designed in the study and asked the second-year pharmacy student to rate on various reasons that affect their attendance for three courses. The study suggested that the reasons of course attendance were different and complex. There wasn’t a specific trend in it. However, the common excuses of not attending courses were “sickness”,“study for other courses” and “availability of the course content”. The study also tried to find out if there were any patterns for a particular type of student to attend the classes more frequently. After a number of analysis, the concluded there wasn’t a significant correlation between the student characteristic and absenteeism. As it was shown above, the study failed to reject the null hypothesis, concluded that there wasn’t any correlation between the demographic of students and the course attendance.

  As we discussed in class, the result of the second study might be a correct decision or a false negative. We don’t know if the conclusion is true or false. Also, the study was designed as an observational study instead of experimental study, so the possible third variables wasn’t well controlled. This also produced the opportunity that the conclusion might due to chance. To make the results more convincing and accurate, it might needed a meta-analyses to continue on this area of study.

  After analysing the two studies, I’ll go with the statement that class attendance does affect academic performance, since the first study has a larger probability to be a correct decision.

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