Monday, November 17, 2008

Anyone, anyone? Student attendance and attainment

A couple of years ago on this blog (yes, it has been that long!) we referred to the paper by Woodfield, Jessop and McMillan on student attendance levels at university. Interestingly, in the forthcoming (December) issue of Studies in Higher Education there's an article which uses a much larger and broader data set of student attendance at class and attainment (in terms of grades obtained in modules). This latest work is from Loretta Newman-Ford and colleagues at the University of Glamorgan which, as we also reported in this blog (don't we have our 'fingers on the pulse'?), uses an electronic fob device to record student attendance, allowing registers to be compiled automatically. This  means that compiling data from 22 first year modules across the entire academic yearand correlating it with student performance is relatively straightforward.

Their conclusions? Well, in a nutshell, there is a strong correlation between attendance at class and attainment, not just in terms of pass/fail but in actual grades.  They also noted the much suspected dropping off of attendance as the semester progresses, noting spikes in turnout when revision or information about assessments were the topics under discussion. Early morning lectures weren't as much an issue as Friday afternoons were!

Details: " A large-scale investigation into the relationship between attendance and attainment: a study using an innovative, electronic attendance monitoring system", L. Newman-Ford, K. Fitzgibbon, S. Llyod, S. Thomas, Studies in Higher Education, Vol 33, No. 6, December 2008, 699-717

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